It’s been quite a ride for Far Rockaway RBI in the three years since its inception — sometimes literally.
Last weekend, 28 Far Rockaway RBI ballplayers, along with 9 coaches and chaperones, rode the NYC Ferry from the peninsula to Manhattan. For most of them, it was their first time on a ferry. As if that weren’t exciting enough, they were headed to Bat Day at Yankee Stadium, where they got to see one of their favorite Major League Baseball teams in action.
The ride and tickets were all courtesy of NYC Ferry and its operator, Hornblower, who have committed to give away free Yankee tickets to deserving kids across the city from now until October.
According to NY1, which covered the event, NYC Ferry selected the team after seeing an advertisement in one of the local papers for RBI’s father-daughter event last month.
“I realized they were a little league team, and I was like, ‘Yankee tickets, that’s a combination,’” Elana Ehrenberg, NYC Ferry Community Development Supervisor, said in the NY1 segment.
Far Rockaway RBI is part of Major League Baseball’s effort to revive baseball in the inner cities. The league started in Far Rockaway three years ago as the result of the commitment and collaboration of many community partners. Today, 130 boys and girls, ages 6-14, learn the values of teamwork, self-discipline, dedication, and sportsmanship through baseball.
“Days like this make me proud of the work we do,” said Program Director Rob Closs. “The movement that RBI has become continues to surprise me. We set out to simply bring baseball back to our neighborhood. We didn’t know where it would go or what it would look like. Now, looking back, we have had some great experiences — from practice sessions with NY Mets players and coaches at Citifield to handing out turkeys to families in need with other Mets players, and now this, a fully sponsored trip to see the NY Yankees, by ferry no less.”
Closs added, “At times, the geography of Far Rockaway can leave you feeling a little disconnected from the rest of the city. That is why it is important for us to work from the inside out and create a sense of community with our players and coaches. Experiences like this help bridge the disconnect and expose our young people to new worlds. We are grateful for all of them — and judging by the smiles, you can tell how much each one means to the kids.”
This wasn’t the first time Far Rockaway RBI introduced the little leaguers to a new mode of transportation. Last July, the players were invited to participate in MLB’s All-Star Youth Classic in San Diego. You can read the story of 12-year-old Issaih, who participated in the exciting event and recounts his first plane ride — and so much else.
To learn more about how you can support or volunteer for Far Rockaway RBI and The Child Center of NY, please contact RBI Coordinator Vince Coleman at 917-935-2260 or visit our Ways to Give or Crowdrise page.