Thanks to PCA’s partnership with Major League Baseball and the support from the MLB-MLBPA Youth Development Foundation, PCA has partnered with nearly 150 Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities programs and other youth baseball and softball organizations since 2015.
One organization that has taken its partnership with PCA to the next level is the Border Youth Athletic Association in El Paso, Texas.
The mission of El Paso Border Youth Athletic Association is to create educational and developmental opportunities for youth through baseball and softball. In 2014, BYAA launched the BASE Play RBI program, an after-school program connecting third, fourth, fifth and sixth grade students to their academic potential, health and communities through baseball and softball play.
The program targets students who are struggling academically or behaviorally. These students comprise over half of the BASE Play service population. Recruited students are placed on baseball and softball teams. Through the program, their grades are monitored, mentorship is provided and academic accountability is taught.
"We work in some communities with extremely low socioeconomic levels," said Kristi Borden, Director of Development and RBI Programs for Border Youth Athletic Association. "We work with kids that otherwise wouldn’t have the chance to play. We work with parents who have never experienced a team sport or youth sports environment. We developed our program on the ground in these places with great need."
"What we found out, going out there and putting the teams in play, is that our parents needed the education as much as our coaches or our kids, and we didn’t really know where we were going to get it," recalled Borden. "We never really had the capacity to address the issues we were seeing – the competitive issues, the coaching issues, the coaching from the sidelines that our parents would do." In 2017, Borden found what her organization was looking for and what they needed.
"We attended the RBI Institute (put on by Major League Baseball) and connected with PCA," said Borden.
"PCA was remarkable. It was the answer to all of the most challenging issues that we had on the field that impeded play for the kids. We took advantage of PCA immediately and to the maximum extent possible because it was the answer."
Over the first few years of their partnership with PCA, Borden and BASE Play RBI conducted PCA coach, parent and leadership workshops.
"We bought books, we had trainers come down, we trained our board, our coaches. And then we started training our parents, because the message is so good and we so needed it."
"It produced an immediate shift in our coaches, without a doubt and with our parents as well. We couldn’t program to the number of kids that we program to without PCA in the communities that we serve."
This upcoming year, BASE Play RBI is expanding its programs to New Mexico, bringing PCA training, in both English and Spanish with them.
"BASE Play dives deep into their community to provide local youth every opportunity to play, learn and grow through baseball and softball,” said PCA’s Senior Partner Support Manager, Keenan Bigg. "Kristi Borden and her staff work tirelessly to ensure that every decision and every dollar spent directly impacts their local youth's ability to develop as an athlete on the field, and as a contributing member of society off it. When other PCA partners ask me what a successful partnership looks like, I am quick to point them to Kristi and BASE Play RBI."
"We love our PCA partnership," Borden said, "and are always looking at how we can create more depth in the relationship between PCA, our coaches and our community."