Scottsdale family's baseball charity bridges cultures as they bring game to children in Dominican Republic

Scottsdale family's baseball charity bridges cultures as they bring game to children in Dominican Republic
Scottsdale family's 2020 baseball charity aimed to aid Dominican kids with gear (Fox 10)

SCOTTSDALE, ARIZONA: A Scottsdale family initiated a charitable endeavor centered around baseball back in 2020.

Their aim was simple yet impactful: to gather baseball essentials such as gloves, balls, and bats for underprivileged children in the Dominican Republic.

However, their mission swiftly expanded when they realized a similar need existed within Arizona's communities.

Recognizing baseball as a beautiful sport that instills values like teamwork, discipline, and patience, this initiative has become more than just a charitable act for a couple of youngsters in Scottsdale.

According to Fox10, For 16-year-old Ryan Penney, baseball embodies everything. As a pitcher for Chapparal High, Ryan, who shares a passion for the game with his father, recounts playing significant matches.

Yet, none compared to the profound experience of playing alongside young Dominican children on a humble field.

"It was amazing just seeing the kids' faces being on the island and experiencing and seeing them play baseball. Playing baseball against these kids was just priceless," expressed Ryan Penney, a representative of the Home2First Foundation.

The Penney family kickstarted the Home2First foundation a few years ago after witnessing the dire need for resources in the Dominican Republic.

They strategically placed donation boxes, seeking used baseball gear, in local establishments like Cold Beers and Cheeseburgers. The impact of their initial donations in 2021 magnified the realization of the immense necessity.

Ryan Penney emphasized, "It’s just a shared helmet for a team, and they’re used to it. They’re grateful for what they have. A lot of shared gloves, torn plastic bottles for shoes. Very minimal, just not good equipment, not good at all." 

Initially focusing on aiding Dominican children, they soon noticed similar deficiencies closer to home within financially disadvantaged Arizona communities.

"We've seen a lot of need here too, in financially challenged areas of Arizona," mentioned Penney, indicating their expanded scope of aid efforts.

Over the past three years, their contributions have amounted to thousands of pounds of donated equipment, benefiting both local communities and those in the Dominican Republic.

Moreover, they've taken strides by offering scholarships for club teams to children facing financial constraints.

"There’s a lot of need here, too. A lot of financially challenged communities here in Arizona," Penney said.

Understanding the potency of sports as a universal language, particularly in fostering connections and opportunities, Ryan Penney acknowledged the effort invested in organizing donation drives while underscoring the immense fulfillment derived from their charitable initiatives.

"Work hard in school, work hard in school just can’t afford to pay," Penney said.

Their commitment doesn't end there. Presently, they're channeling efforts toward raising funds to support educational endeavors for Dominican children, particularly focusing on facilitating access to English courses—an initiative aimed at broadening their prospects and horizons.

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