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Featured Mini-Grantee | Jackie Robinson Little League RBI

2024-06-10T15:14:52-04:00June 9th, 2024|

Baseball as a Life Skill

Jackie Robinson Little League RBI believes in the power of youth baseball to teach life lessons that build stronger individuals and communities.  It is affiliated with the Major League Baseball RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities ) program and offers kids from low and middle income families the opportunity to enjoy recreation and  participate in organized sports.  

Drawing historical inspiration from Jackie Robinson, the little League coaches have created a diverse program that builds self-esteem, sportsmanship and resilience.  Core programs include:

  • T-Ball: Boys and Girls Ages 4-7
  • Boys Baseball: Ages 8-12
  • Senior Boys/RBI: Ages 13-18

HealthierJC + Jackie Robinson Little League RBI

Jackie Robinson Little League RBI believes that building a Culture of Health means building a culture of sports that promotes physical well-being. All young people are urged to keep active and productive, regardless of their level of expertise.

While every player eventually loses or strikes out, playing softball and baseball shows that there is always another at-bat or upcoming game that may result in victory.  Jackie Robinson Little League coaches understand that this builds resilience and teaches players that a true athlete must be physically, mentally, and emotionally fit.

The Jackie Robinson Little League sports programming, camps, and clinics complement HealthierJC advocacy of youth recreation as a key component of the Jersey City public health ecosystem.  Participating in physical activity in safe, green spaces has shown to improve mental health outcomes.  Additionally, access to physical activity and a healthy diet at a young age fosters a Culture of Health behavior that will help prevent several chronic diseases like obesity and hypertension that plague many Jersey City  communities.

How was the Mini-Grant Used?

Thanks to the HealthierJC mini-grant, Jackie Robinson Little League RBI was able to fund the participation of 60 low-income, minority Jersey City residents from Ward D in the 2023 baseball program. Equipment and uniforms were purchased  for players who could not afford them, and a Free Skills Camp has held in September 2023, at the Caven Point Little League Baseball Field in Jersey City.

Many of these young athletes had never played baseball or softball before and learned the fundamentals of the game – hit, pitch and throw – for the first time. The Jackie Robinson Little League program offered a safe place for young people to gain competency playing a physical game outside… a viable, healthier alternative to playing video games at home indoors.

The program promoted teamwork, physical activity, and discipline, and helped Jersey City youth and their parents create a better understanding of how good health should be part of everyday life. Via teamwork among coaches, parents, and officials, Jackie Robinson Little League provided a nurturing environment for young people to learn, grow and mature.

Making a Difference…

“It’s satisfying for me. Former players have become
police officers, and some made it all the
way to Major League Baseball.”

—Brian Mills, President, Jackie Robinson Little League RBI 

Mills said that the program helps keep kids off the streets. “We try to make sure they have a way out other than just hanging out,” he said. “A lot of them are kids of color who just want to play.”  The players come from Lincoln, Ferris, and Snyder high schools and often think of baseball as their third choice after football and basketball.

Mills, a twenty-year veteran of the program, wants to make sure that wherever baseball lands in the pecking order, it offers a level playing field for all Jersey City youth.

For more information, visit  Jackie Robinson Little League RBI.