Posted: November 13, 2017
JOY and HOPE are intimately connected and are powerful gifts we can give our students, perhaps the most powerful! One of the very best parts of being involved in public education is the JOY and HOPE students give us each and every day! The past few years we’ve featured stories that highlight the HOPE and JOY in our district. Let me know if you have any story suggestions. Thanks for helping us share the HOPE & JOY each week!
There are lots of reasons I do the HOPE JOY project each week. One of my favorite reasons is the amazing people I get to meet and the opportunity I have to tell their story. This week I sat down with CHS senior Caleb Field who is in the process of starting his own nonprofit called Bat Back, “bringing joy to kids, one swing at a time”.
Caleb (pictured left) took a family trip to the Dominican Republic that changed his life. He met 6-year-old Luis (pictured right). Caleb shared something in common with Luis and it seemed like to Caleb almost all of the Dominican Republic, a love of baseball. Caleb told me about watching kids play with stick bats, bottle cap balls, and cardboard baseball gloves. He was amazed at how happy they were. Caleb shared that he had always wanted the latest and greatest equipment like the newest model of bat and these kids were making do with whatever they could find. This especially hit home when he found Luis crying because he broke one of his flip-flops. The flip flops were his only shoes. “It was a major wakeup call”. Caleb wanted to make a difference. He told his mom about an idea. What if he could somehow round up gently-used baseball equipment from here and send it to kids there? He researched the cost of shipping and how to become a nonprofit. He found a church in the town of Monte Cristi that could distribute the equipment. He built a website. He took action. His goal is that at least 100 kids get at least one piece of equipment. His dream is that one day he can return to the Dominican Republic and watch the kids play using the equipment.
I’m often asked about students and public education in general. People sometimes have a misperception of failing schools and students that only care about themselves and maybe their phone. I am witness to amazing stories similar to Caleb’s on a daily basis. These stories are full of passion, creativity, joy, and empathy. They are inspiring. They fill me with hope because they are about people making a difference for other people
Keep doing your great work – we’re creating an army of Calebs!