PG Select Baseball Festival | General | 8/25/2019

PG 13u raises $42K for Kids Koral

Perfect Game Staff        

Jordan Gledhill

See also: Players take the field at 13u Select

NORMAN, Okla. – In the 26 years since its establishment, Perfect Game has become the premier organization for scouting amateur baseball players, hosting events to promote the development of young prospects and unveiling scouting reports to college coaches and MLB scouts.

The majority of the biggest stars in the game today once donned some color variation of the PG hat and shirt, including the three players behind the largest contracts in MLB history — Bryce Harper, Mike Trout and Manny Machado.

Twenty-six years after its establishment, Perfect Game’s success and prestige is seemingly continuing to grow, as partly evidenced by its decision to expand its annual Select Baseball Festival down to 13u.

But having such a large platform means increased responsibility to do good in the community, says Jennifer Ford, the Director of Perfect Game Cares foundation. Ford said she thinks Perfect Game owes it to kids in the country and beyond to be the support, voice, and inspiration for them so they can rise.

So how exactly has Perfect Game used their elevated platform for good in the community?

“We have helped raise over $3 million since 2005 for pediatric cancer, for autism, for other groups,” Ford said. “But in 2018 we made a concerted effort to really go to the next level of our funding and of our fundraising.”

Ford said Perfect Game has established charity events all across the country, noting Texas, California, Georgia and Oklahoma. When the organization runs prospect events such as the one in Oklahoma this weekend and the 14u Select Festival in Fort Myers, Florida next weekend, it tasks players with raising money ahead of time for a select foundation. Amidst a weekend of various baseball-related activities, the players and Perfect Game staff members often visit these foundations to make for a long-lasting experience, Ford said.

“You can’t just have them raise money,” Ford said. “It has to be about an experience that’s long-lasting for them because our hope is that as they continue to grow, they will reach out and do philanthropy-driven things in their own communities.”

The lead-up to the 13u Select Festival saw players raise over $42,000 for the Kids Korral — a privately-funded project of the Toby Keith Foundation that provides housing and living areas for pediatric cancer patients and their families. A pair of young men, Cade Arrambide and Christian Rodriguez, each raised almost $7,000 for the foundation. Following a three-hour practice on Saturday morning, the crew made its way to the Kids Korral in Oklahoma City. Ford remarked the Korral’s open-door policy and grace in allowing the players to come in and interact with the kids.

“I think it’s really important to support somebody that is in the trenches doing such amazing work and this funding is going to make a huge difference,” Ford said. “If you had told me that a group of 30 13-year-old boys could raise that kind of money, I am so impressed and bowled over. I just can’t even speak about it it’s so impressive.”

Ford and the Perfect Game Cares Foundation is driven on not only raising funds for charity foundations, but also instilling a drive in these young men to seek after philanthropic deeds. Arrambide says he knows family and friends who have struggled with cancer and has always wanted to find a way to help. When Perfect Game gave him the opportunity to compete amongst North America’s best at the 13u Select Festival, Arrambide made it his mission to raise the most money. He went door-to-door in his community, visited local restaurants and even started a lemonade stand to try to receive as many donations as possible.

“Everyone (in my community) was so nice about it,” Arrambide said. “Some of the restaurants would even donate $500, which is crazy… I’ve learned that it’s more than just a game. You have to do a lot more than just play baseball, there’s a lot more to it. Baseball isn’t the only thing that’s big, you have to help the kids in need.”

Through these baseball events, Ford said the most important message that Perfect Game tries to drive home is “the most beautiful thing in the world that you can do is to give without expecting a return.”

“I think overall the more that people are philanthropy-driven, it allows you to step out of yourself and look at the well-being of society as a whole,” Ford said. “When you give that unselfishly, which these young men have done, it’s just a beautiful site and to create this at a young age… you’re creating in them this desire to recognize that they want to help others and that’s way more powerful than even anything that they do on the field.”

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