Holyoke, Mass. – The Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation (CRSF) and SUEZ today partnered to celebrate the continuation of the Badges for Baseball program in Hampden County, Massachusetts. To celebrate the ninth consecutive year of Badges for Baseball in Hampden County, approximately 80 youth from the Springfield and Holyoke Boys & Girls Clubs attended a Valley Blue Sox baseball game, where the Badges for Baseball program received an on-field recognition ceremony.
Additionally, representatives from the Springfield Boys & Girls Club, Holyoke Boys & Girls Club and SUEZ joined Hampden County Sheriff Michael Ashe in throwing out the first pitch prior to the Valley Blue Sox taking on the Vermont Mountaineers. Prior to attending the game, the youth and Blue Sox players participated in a Quickball tournament led by the Ripken Foundation staff at Mackenzie Stadium. Quickball is a fast-paced, easy to learn version of baseball.
“It’s wonderful to return to Hampden County to see the continued success of the Badges for Baseball program,” said Steve Salem, president, Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation. “A huge thank you to SUEZ, as none of this would be possible without their dedication and support. We look forward to the program’s continued growth for years to come.”
Badges for Baseball is a juvenile crime prevention program created by the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation in partnership with the U.S. Department of Justice. It’s a simple concept: pair police and children together to play and learn. The program reshapes the relationship between law enforcement and children in communities across the country. Since 2008, the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation partnered with the Hampden County Sheriff’s Department as well as the Springfield Boys & Girls Club has impacted over 2,400 youth through its Badges for Baseball programming.
“Baseball has been a favorite pastime in America for many years. At SUEZ, we are very proud to partner with an organization such as Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation that works with today’s youth and continues to make a difference within the communities we serve;” stated Paul Donahue, project manager SUEZ Operations in Holyoke, Massachusetts.
Thanks to the continued support of SUEZ, the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation has provided the Springfield & Holyoke Boys & Girls Clubs with the resources needed to implement Badges for Baseball. This includes cash awards, baseball/softball and Quickball equipment, a character education curriculum, and opportunities to send deserving youth to overnight summer camp at The Ripken Experience Aberdeen Powered by Under Armour complex in Aberdeen, Maryland.
The Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation uses baseball/softball-themed programs to help build character and teach critical life lessons to underserved youth residing in America’s most distressed communities. Founded in 2001 by members of the Ripken family in memory of their patriarch Cal Sr., the Ripken Foundation works to create programs that positively impact at-risk youth through active community partnerships with law enforcement agencies, adult mentors and successful youth service organizations. In 2015, the Ripken Foundation aims to impact over 1 million kids nationwide through its Youth Development Park initiative and Badges for Baseball programming.