September 17, 2011

How You can Help Alexandra Baseball

I've told you about what we've accomplished so far with Alexandra Baseball, which mainly meant getting more equipment. I've also written about the upcoming Funfest in Alexandra where we'll use the bulk of this equipment for the first time to give a lot more kids exposure to the sport. If the day is a success, then many more kids will sign on for league play in the upcoming season, and several schools will start fielding their own teams. And guess what that means? We'll need more equipment!

In my last post I appealed to prospective expats moving to South Africa to help with transporting equipment we've already collected. But what if you're just a reader of this blog and not moving to South Africa? If you would like to help with our effort, this is what you can do:
  • Collect used baseball equipment by contacting your local high school or baseball club; you could hand out fliers and get the entire school involved, or better yet, let your kids do a "Baseball for Africa" drive, which I think would make a wonderful outreach project. Just think of how many people you know who have their garage full of unused sports gear. All of which would be put to very good use here in Africa. When you're finished with your collection drive, all you need is a place to keep it for us until I can have it shipped to where the next expat container is leaving. I've included a sample donor letter below, which you're welcome to use as is or modify according to your needs. I can also provide more pictures.
  • Play it Again Sports often has very inexpensive used clothing and equipment on offer, and you might be able to negotiate a special deal with them, in case you'd like to help but don't want to get involved in a donation drive.
  • If you don't have access to baseball gear but would like to be involved, consider making a donation to Alexandra Baseball. Any funds we raise in this way will be used for shipping expenses, team transport, and field improvements.




And finally, it always helps to spread the word. Become a fan of our Facebook page if you haven't done so yet. If you just forward this article to your kids' baseball or soccer team or some of your friends and colleagues, post it on Facebook, Twitter, and whatever else may be out there which I - perennial late adopter that I am - don't even know about, more people will read about it and perhaps be moved to help.

Tedius asked me to put a special request in here for what we most urgently need: fielding and catcher's gloves for left handers (meaning the ones that fit onto your right hand, just to be precise) of all sizes big and small, and pants for age 16 and above.

This concludes my mini-series about township baseball in Johannesburg and the different ways to become involved. To read more, click on the "Alexandra Baseball" link under "Topics of Interest" on the right.


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SAMPLE DONOR LETTER


Baseball in Africa Needs Your Help!


Having moved to South Africa last year with our family of six, the one thing I didn’t expect to find here was baseball. Our boys, ages 12 and 14, had been avid baseball players before but we were resigned to the fact that it would have to be cricket (cricket!) from now on (let me just say that we are still struggling to understand why it is necessary to have matches last 5 days). However, I was all the more surprised to find that there is a growing baseball movement in South Africa, and not just as a pastime but also a model of social change. One such example is the Alexandra Baseball Association. 

Alexandra is a township in Johannesburg, and one of the most destitute and crime-ridden environments you can grow up in. In fact, I was warned never to set foot there, but I’m glad I did and consider myself fortunate to have met the founders and coaches of Alexandra Baseball. They have passion for what they’re trying to build and work hard, without any compensation. In fact, what little they earn with odd jobs, they pour into their baseball program to provide transport and meals for the kids in their care. Going to practice every day after school keeps the kids out of trouble and stirs dreams in some to perhaps one day make it to the Major Leagues.

 But the challenges are daunting. Their home field has no fence or backstop, no bases and no pitcher’s mound, which forces the team to travel across town to other clubs all season. The biggest need by far is that of more and better equipment, which is where YOU come in. We need your old mitts, bats, helmets, cleats, pants, belts, even socks and balls, catcher’s equipment, discarded team jerseys (an entire team’s old jerseys would be great), and any training equipment such as batting sticks, tees, or videos.

For further information please visit my blog at http://joburgexpat.blogspot.com/2011/03/getting-closer-on-alexandra-boys-dream.html, where you can also make a donation, or leave a comment for me so I can contact you. But mostly it is your used equipment that we need, because even with money it is hard to find baseball gear in South Africa.

You CAN make a difference! Please help these young boys fulfill their dreams. Thank you.



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More on Alexandra Baseball:

What we've accomplished so far: From Garage to Outfield - A Second Life for Used Baseball Equipment in Africa

How you can help...

...if you live in Joburg: A Call to all Local Bloggers and Photographers!
...if you live in the United States and are moving to South Africa: Got Container Space?
...if you live anywhere else in the world: Become a fan of the Alexandra Baseball Facebook page to help spread the word.