We would like Catonsville to know what a wonderful thing the Catonsville Girls Softball League did for two tiny villages along the southern coast of Ecuador. They donated enough used and new softball equipment to outfit two girls' teams in one of the poorest parts of the country.
We publicly thank the girls and their families for their generous donations, with heartfelt gratitude to Catherine and Chuck Kreis for their selfless efforts which made this possible. Play It Again Sports contributed many new gloves and balls to this project and we thank them, too.
Jonathan, our son and a Catonsville resident, is a Peace Corps volunteer stationed in Puerto del Morro, where he works in the children and family program in several local communities.
As the first such volunteer in this part of the world, his job is to establish programs that will promote beneficial social change. Working for social change in these poverty-stricken areas begins by working with the children.
Jonathan's early efforts have included English language classes, working in local schools and nurseries, door-to-door community building, anti-violence programs for young males and organized play programs.
Many of the children in the community are starved for attention and affection. Lacking self-esteem and the ability to make choices, many of the young girls are pregnant by the time they are 13 or 14.
Jonathan thought girls softball would be a great way to build self-esteem, teach teamwork and give the girls something special for themselves.
Enter the Catonsville Girls Softball League. Once league play was underway, CGSL provided gloves, bats, balls, helmets, jerseys, pants, and hats to outfit two complete teams.
Just a few days before leaving to deliver this equipment to Ecuador, we were pleasantly surprised to find the league had two sets of team shirts made up for the communities of El Morro and Puerto del Morro.
It was quite a paperwork adventure to get the donation into Ecuador but the equipment arrived June 23. I wish everyone who donated a piece of equipment could have seen the excitement on the faces of the children.
They came teeming out of the spaces between houses, running around pigs, dogs and chickens in the streets, to see what Jonathan had in the big duffel bags from Catonsville. Laughing children put on helmets; one immediately tested hers by hitting it with a ball. No one had any idea what to do with a glove but our hearts smiled, watching two cute little girls put right hands upside down into gloves made for the left hand.
Our son has his work cut out for him; practice began July 1 in El Morro.
Thanks again to Chuck, Catherine and the girls for helping to make that social change a reality.