June 5, 2013
Contact: Scott Jamison
Gainesville, FL – Santa Fe College coaches Chris Ahern and Norma Diaz recently generously donated numerous gloves, balls and bats to a Peruvian girls softball league, giving the players in the league their own equipment for the first time ever. Prior to the donations by the SF coaches and other coaches from the Gainesville area, the girls had to share five softballs, 10 gloves and two bats amongst two large groups of players.
Santa Fe assistant coach Art Bautista-Hardman, who was born and raised in Peru and made the goodwill mission to take the equipment to the Pachacutec district of Lima, said the donations meant everything to the players and coaches.
“[In April] I had the privilege of working with a great group of ball players in the Pachacutec district of Lima, Peru. It’s about 1.5 to 2 hours drive from my home in San Borja. Here you’ll still find very low incomes, and dirt streets, but people who are very proud of what they have, and who work to give their kids the best they can.
We always bring equipment when we come down. We always solicit for additional equipment, and Coach Pete Mariano (Gainesville HS), Coach Paul Silverman (Gainesville Gold 16U and PK Yonge RDS), and Coach Christine Ahern and Norma Diaz (Santa Fe College) both donated generously. Between all of us I brought down 36 11” balls, 24 12” balls, 14 ball gloves, and 7 bats. We have still 12 bats back in Gainesville, but I ran out of room and weight in the suitcases (plural). BTW, these are the second donations by Pete and Paul.
Just for perspective, this is one of three groups of players, two groups shared 10 ball gloves and 2 bats, and all three groups shared 5 Softee balls that Head Coach María Cáceda Ríos carried around from practice-to-practice and place-to-place in a bag for practices.
Coach María told me that this was the first practice she’s ever run where all the girls each had a ball, a ball glove and had a choice of bats. She is so thankful for everyone’s generosity.
We did basic fielding drill for an hour and half, and after they had worked so diligently with incredible focus, especially the 9 and 10 year olds, I said, “You deserve a reward for working so hard, what would you like?” I expect something like “candy,” or such, but no… “We want to PLAY! We want a ball game!” So we split into two teams and played two innings of ball. It was awesome.
Afterward, we could hardly get them to go home. We practiced from 8 AM to 10:30 AM. They all study from 1 PM to 8 PM on the afternoon shift for school, and had to go home to get ready.
Thank you Pete, Paul, Christine and Norma. What a wonderfully positive impact you’ve made on our sport and these little ball player’s lives.”