The newly refurbished fields are all at city-owned parks. All reconstruction and additional safety features are being paid for through the Community Leaders program and completed at no cost to taxpayers. For example, in keeping with its own commitment to safety, Calpine will present each Lindale Little League team on Saturday with batting helmets and equipment bags and will hang banners at Moody Park reminding all team members to play safely.
"The Calpine team is very excited about supporting this community project. Indeed, our employees got a head start by building and donating bicycles and holding a bike safety rally at Minute Maid Park last December for the Moody Park Little Leaguers, and we are looking forward to seeing the results of their bicycle 'conditioning' work as they take to the field this spring," said Calpine's Chief Executive Officer Jack Fusco. "It is a privilege to be able to help Houston kids enjoy playing ball on renovated and well-maintained fields while learning about competition, teamwork and the benefits of staying healthy and fit."
"The Astros' Community Leaders program is providing a tremendous service to Houston's young people at no cost to our taxpayers," said Mayor Parker at the Community Leaders launch. "As a former softball player, I know this program will be successful in encouraging young people to play, and I applaud the Astros and the corporations participating in this program for their community spirit and generosity."
The Astros Community Leaders program will invest $18 million in city-owned public youth baseball and softball fields in disadvantaged areas of Houston over the course of five years. Jumpstarted by Astros Chairman Jim Crane late last year, the Community Leaders program is run by The Astros Foundation, the official team charity, and is a collaboration with Houston-based corporations and the city of Houston.
Construction at the first ballfields began in the fall of 2012. To date, eight fields have been renovated through the Community Leaders program, with construction at additional fields already underway. These revitalized public youth baseball and softball fields serve thousands of at-risk youth in Houston.
In conjunction with the team charity's other cornerstone program, the Astros Urban Youth Academy, the Astros Foundation is also developing additional programming to serve the youth teams who play at these parks, including baseball and softball clinics with the Astros current players and alumni and UYA instructors, donated equipment and special events. The youth teams partnering with the Community Leaders program will receive tickets to Astros games at Minute Maid Park, and the Houston-based corporations in the Community Leaders program, including Calpine, will also participate in occasional community service projects with their employees and other Astros Foundation-led special events at the fields throughout the year.
ABOUT THE ASTROS FOUNDATION:
The official 501(c)(3) team charity of the Houston Astros, the Astros Foundation seeks to harness the passion of baseball fans in our region to support our cornerstone charitable programs, including Community Leaders, the Astros Urban Youth Academy and the Astros RBI (Reviving Baseball in the Inner City) league. Led by the Astros ownership and team Sr. VP and Foundation Executive Director Meg Vaillancourt, the strategic focus of the foundation is on the team charity's youth baseball and softball programs serving at risk youth in the Greater Houston area. For more information, please visit www.astros.com/foundation or call 713-259-8834.