Major League Baseball Charities (MLB) has awarded college scholarships, each valued at $5,000 per year, to eleven high school seniors who participate in Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI), the Major League Baseball youth baseball and softball initiative for young people from underserved communities. The recipients are receiving the grants through the "RBI for RBI" Scholarship Fund, an initiative created in 2008 to provide financial support for select college-bound student-athletes who were chosen based on academic record, demonstrated leadership, participation in school and community activities, and financial need. The 2015 class of "RBI for RBI" Scholarship Fund recipients brings the total to 87 college scholarships awarded since the fund was established. The recipients were recognized at the 2015 RBI World Series, hosted by the Texas Rangers in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex area.
"The RBI program not only strives to give young men and women the opportunity to gain valuable on-field experience, but also to prioritize succeeding in the classroom," said David James, Senior Director of the RBI program. "Thanks to a generous donation from MLB Charities, participants of the RBI program who have demonstrated the desire for pursuing a college education and a commitment to giving back to their communities have this opportunity to take their first step toward realizing their dreams."
The scholarships provide each recipient the opportunity to pursue any field of study at a two-year college, four-year college, university or vocational school in the United States or Puerto Rico. The need-based payments of up to $5,000 per year may be renewed for up to three years or until the award recipient has earned his or her training certificate, associate degree or bachelor's degree. The "RBI for RBI" scholarship fund is administered and funded by MLB Charities.
The 2015 RBI for RBI scholarship recipients are as follows - Name; Hometown (RBI League Name):
- Jaylene Anderson; Verona, KY (Cincinnati Reds RBI): Will be attending Eastern Kentucky University to study special education and minor in American Sign Language, which she taught herself. Jaylene is the captain of her high school volleyball and softball teams, has been involved in peer tutoring for special needs students for all four years, has regularly volunteered with RedsFest for the Reds Community Fund and has participated in the Wake-Up Walton program, where she volunteered at her local nursing home with church members, teachers and parents.
- Jennifer Avecedo; Harlem, NY (Harlem RBI): Will be attending Marymount Manhattan College to study business. Avecedo, who is the captain of her Harlem RBI softball team, ranks in the top 10% of her graduating class in grade point average and was a four-year member of the National Honor Society. This summer, she attended an academic program at Cornell University on a full scholarship.
- Richard Aviles; Garden Grove, CA (Angels RBI): Will be attending Santa Ana College to study kinesiology. Richard, who has volunteered with after-school programs and with his local recreation center, will be the first member of his family to attend college.
- Craig Campbell; Miami, FL (Miami Marlins RBI): Will be attending Barry University to study criminal justice. Craig is an eight-year member of Salvation Army as a Corps Cadet, Adventure Corps member and member of the youth band.
- Kayla Cato; Decatur, GA (Browns Mill RBI): Will be attending Claflin University to study journalism. A five-year member of the RBI program and 2013 RBI World Series Softball Championship Game MVP, Kayla created a plan-of-action to her RBI head coach that included healthy eating habits and proper stretching techniques for athletes. Her coach implemented these strategies and various players saw improvements in their physical and mental performances. Her career goal is to write scripts for TV sitcoms or become a sports broadcaster.
- Jason Dubon; Miami, FL (Miami Marlins RBI): Will be attending University of Florida to study computer science. Jason, who was the captain of his high school varsity baseball team, tutors students in math and has held several leadership roles in various different clubs, including: CodeNow Computer Sciences Club, Take Stock in Children Program, Future Business Leaders of America and Ignorance Isn't Bliss.
- Jarmarcus Everett; Columbia, MS (Mississippi RBI): Will be attending Jackson State University to study civil engineering. Jamarcus, who graduated in the top 10% of his class, won the leadership award for his varsity baseball team and has been the Class President of the student body the last three years. He has volunteered for the Special Olympics, Dixie Youth Baseball and the Salvation Army. His long-term goal is to use his degree to help improve his community.
- Amber Hunter; Newark, NJ (Newark RBI): Will be attending Caldwell University to major in biology/pre-med. Amber is a two-year member of both the National Honor Society and Music Honor Society. Her long-term dream is to become a neo-natal pediatric specialist.
- Woizero Jarvis; Bronx, NY (Harlem RBI): Will be attending Ithaca College. Woizero, who is the captain of her Harlem RBI softball team, is the President of the Youth Leadership Council and has volunteered with a variety of organizations, including: Show Box Project, Ward 7 Clean-up in Washington, D.C. and Pitch, Hit & Run. Her long-term goal is to own a sports marketing firm.
- Daschal Johnson; Lewisville, TX (Houston Astros RBI): Will be attending Northwestern Oklahoma State where he will study health and sports science and play baseball. Daschal was the captain of his varsity baseball team and has volunteered as a peer mentor for elementary and middle school kids. He participates in Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the President's Club and Student Council. His long-term goal is to be a physical therapist or athletic trainer.
- Anthony Maldonado; Newark, NJ (Newark RBI): Will be attending Bloomfield College to study math. Anthony, who has given back to the RBI community by coaching and umpiring, comes from a single-parent home and his mother is a cancer survivor.
About Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI)
The RBI program, which has served approximately 2 million young people since its inception, is the Major League Baseball youth initiative designed to give young people from underserved and diverse communities the opportunity to play baseball and softball, while also encouraging academic achievement and success and teaching the value of teamwork and other important life lessons. RBI currently serves approximately 230,000 young men and women in over 300 programs established in approximately 200 cities worldwide. MLB and its Clubs have designated more than $30 million worth of resources to the RBI program, and all 30 Clubs support RBI leagues. For more information, please visit: MLB.com/rbi.