Representatives of the Jays Care Foundation, the charitable arm of the Toronto Blue Jays, will be visiting up to eight schools in the Grand Falls area January 14-18 in hopes of launching a RBI baseball league for students in Grades 5-8.
"Jays Care Foundation has seven signature programs which we run across the country from coast to coast," said Alex Mohamed, national program facilitator for the organization. "We use baseball as a tool to teach life skills to youth. We hope to create a program to bring various communities together through the love of sport."
Mohamed said the Jays Care Foundation will partner with schools to create school teams to travel and play games followed by an end-of-year tournament. All of the costs will be covered by the Jays Care Foundation. Each school must designate one school representative to be present at each game and practice, while Jays Care will provide equipment and hire a coach for each team.
The charitable organization believes in a level playing field where all Canadian children and youth have the opportunity to thrive and succeed. The Jays Care Foundation currently works to provide a wide range of programming opportunities for children and youth across Canada. Last year, its programs reached over 40,000 children and youth.
Mohamed said the goal is to launch the program in schools in the Grand Falls region that do not have current baseball programming available to their student population. The program is usually launched in April and runs until June. It involves one practice and one game per week and culminates into a large scale tournament for all participating schools.
John Caldwell School, Saint Mary's Academy, Tobique Valley High School, Perth Andover Middle School, Donald Fraser Memorial School and Andover Elementary School are the participating schools in ASD-W. Each school can select up to 15 players for their RBI team. All players receive a team t-shirt and hat.
“This is a very exciting opportunity for our six ASD-W schools, but
also for the communities of Edmundston, Grand Falls, Plaster Rock and Perth
Andover," said Ross Campbell, subject coordinator for health and physical education for ASD-W and president of the New Brunswick Physical Education Society. "Baseball is a fantastic team sport that builds friendships forever and
to have the Toronto Blue Jays come into our communities and support the
students of New Brunswick with their CARE program is truly amazing. Grade
5-8 students will have the opportunity to receive instruction, coaching
and practice and game facilitation, as well as receive gear and equipment. Along with
a positive learning environment this program will be comprehensive to any
student from this age group who wishes to participate.”
Across the country, coaches and teachers say they notice an improvement in students' health and physical activity, self-esteem and confidence as a result of the Jays Care program.