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Tuesday Tales: Featuring At Bat

Written by karly@sharedetroit.org    on July 13, 2021    in

“Hello again, everybody… It’s a bee-yoo-tiful day for baseball!”

- Harry Caray

In the spirit of summer and celebrating “America’s game”, we are happy to feature the wonderful work of “At Bat” on our SHARE Detroit platform.

In 2015, Delrisha Hayes was inspired to start At Bat when she noticed a decline in the number of African American players in Major League Baseball. At the time, minority participation in professional baseball was roughly 40% - Hispanic players comprised 25.2%, African American players 9.8%, and Asian players 5%. After doing some research, Delrisha concluded that the decline in the number of minority athletes in the MLB was related to limited access to baseball within urban communities.  Families whose household income is 200% below the Federal poverty level cannot afford to enroll their children into a baseball/softball program and families with limited transportation do not have the resources to allow their child to participate on a team with regular practices and games.

 In response to these struggles faced by so many, Delrisha decided to start an organization that permits at-risk youth to participate in the sport of baseball and softball. 

At Bat began by hosting one-day baseball clinics at the Belle Isle Athletic Fields to introduce youth to the fundamentals of baseball. They work with children ages 6 to 13, whose household income is 200% below the Federal poverty level and either reside and/or attend school in Metro Detroit.  The At Bat team hoped by offering these clinics, it would introduce children to the sport and draw interest for future participation with the sport. In 2017, they piloted their first after-school program in collaboration with Voyageur Academy, a Detroit charter school.  With funding from UAW Ford and individual donations, At Bat successfully taught 26 sessions on youth baseball and nutrition principles, built self-esteem, and applied academic concepts to real-life examples through structured activities.

At Bat has experienced a great deal of growth since their “Opening Day” in 2015.  Over the years, they have increased program availability and now offer a variety of different programming including baseball and softball clinics for youngsters that inspire them to learn a new sport, after-school programs for children in kindergarten through eighth grade who are passionate about teamwork.  They provide additional resources for families such as workshops on health related topics, youth development for children who are interested in STEM careers, summer camps for youth that want to improve their baseball/softball skills, and sporting kits for children affected by the pandemic. 
 
Looking ahead, At Bat hopes to grant all Metro Detroit youth, regardless of their financial status, the luxury to participate in a baseball and softball program. They would love to see children who participate in their programs have the chance to advance into national sport competitions such as Hit, Pitch and Run, the Little League World Series, and Junior Home Run Derby. At Bat would also like to open a multipurpose community space in a Detroit neighborhood where youth, families, and community members can play, learn and grow. 
 
Given the impact of the work At Bat gives to children in our Detroit community, it is no wonder they have many fans rooting them on!  To learn more about this organization, please visit: https://sharedetroit.org/nonprofit/bat .