Community Involvement, Rehabilitation

Salinas Valley prison raises thousands for youth sports

Kids in baseball uniforms hold oversized check for $4,891.
Soledad Little League players, wearing their uniforms, visited the prison to accept a donation directly from the incarcerated population.

Incarcerated raise $4,890 for Soledad Little League

On June 3, the incarcerated men of Salinas Valley State Prison donated $4,890 to youth sports, Soledad Little League players, coaches and their president.

The funds were raised by Facility B during a March food sale, allowing them to purchase some items from the local Costco. Food choices included pizza, fried chicken and cookies.

Afterward, 10 percent of each purchase was collected for the charity.

When the food sale numbers came in, the Facility B Men’s Advisory Committee chose a youth sports league as the beneficiary.

Tom Kennedy, one of the committee’s members, said it was also a way to show appreciation to prison staff.

“We know many of the staff have children who play for local sports leagues,” he said. “So, we wanted their kids to benefit from the hard work their parents put in while here at the prison.”

Youth sports players, coaches visit Salinas Valley prison to thank incarcerated

Youth players Dominic, Joshua and Nathaniel, accompanied by their coaches, visited the prison to accept the donation. They also wanted to personally thank the incarcerated men. When asked if they were nervous to come inside the prison, they said they were more nervous about their upcoming championship games.

As he gratefully received the check, the Soledad Little League chapter president said the money was needed. While leagues in metropolitan areas receive large corporate donations, Soledad does not.

The league plans to buy sports equipment as well as a batting cage.

Terrence Ford, one of the incarcerated men attending the presentation, said while the money will make an impact on the league, it also made an impact on him. He also said it was the first time he’s seen the power of giving back.

Seeing the youth players in their uniforms reminded Ford of his own childhood playing baseball.

By Lieutenant Wesley Fonseca

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