LeadforOne first visited the Dominican Republic when invited by a partner who had some baseball connections back in the summer of 2015. Our first trip was very simple, we took 15 boys and a few of their moms to play baseball with the Dominican kids for a week. We quickly fell in love with the culture and the community of people we met. We knew this was a place we wanted to continue to invest in year after year. Later on in the week on that first trip we visited a special village called the “sugar cane village”.
The bus literally took us to a sugarcane field and within minutes our kids were greeted by over 50 dominican kiddos ready to play. When we got to the center of the village we noticed several really nice things that were most likely built by previous groups. We saw a church where nobody seemed to gather. We saw a water well, broke and unused, and a community gathering center- vacant.
We asked ourselves,
“What does this community need?”
Over the course of the afternoon, we gradually noticed that every village member spent their time at the tattered “baseball field”. We asked ourselves “what does this community need,” instead of, “what do we think this community needs.” That day, we decided our mission for each group we brought in after this group would be to build this community a baseball field. Why? Because baseball is what connected this community, and the field is where the most ministry was taking place.
Fast forward 3 years and we have finished the field. We now have a team of 15 guys and a full time coach, sponsored by Leadforone. The boys playing on the team have to be in school full time, learning english, and giving back to their community once a month. Most kids drop out of school at a very young age so that they can practice baseball all day every day in hopes of making it to the big leagues. We support their dreams, but we want to take a more realistic approach by requiring education, so that one day they can get a good job to support their family.