On Thursday, September 8th, JAYS CARE FOUNDATION, the charitable arm of the TORONTO BLUE JAYS, joined Toronto City Councilor Mike Layton, representatives from Toronto Playgrounds House League Baseball and more than 60 youth baseball players to announce a $150,000 Field of Dreams investment which will be used to install lighting at Christie Pit's Diamond #3.
Field of Dreams is Jays Care's granting program for capital spaces /infrastructure, which provides funding to design, refurbish, and build safe spaces for children and youth to play baseball, develop life skills and learn from positive role models.
"As the population of Toronto grows alongside the popularity of baseball, finding the time and facilities to accommodate children and youth baseball players becomes challenging," said Robert Witchel, Executive Director, Jays Care Foundation. "By providing lighting for diamond #3 at Christie Pits, a facility with a rich history of Toronto baseball, Jays Care will help provide 35% more playing time (350 additional hours per season) for baseball players between the ages of five and 13. These children and youth will benefit not only from being physically active but also from gaining valuable life lessons that are learned on the diamond, including teamwork, dedication, leadership and resiliency."
"Toronto Playgrounds House League Baseball is extremely grateful for the generous donation from Jays Care Foundation," said Steve Smith, Baseball Coordinator, Toronto Playgrounds House League Baseball. "As the largest house league baseball program in Toronto, with 1,000 players registered in 2016, we have faced challenges trying to find diamond availability for all of the excited young people eager to play the great game of baseball. The $150,000 donation from Jays Care towards the installation of lights on Christie Pits diamond 3 means that we are now on the way towards providing much needed diamond space to these young baseball players. Thank you Jays Care!"
Following opening remarks, more than 60 youth baseball players in attendance - members of Toronto Playgrounds House League Baseball Mosquito, PeeWee and Bantam divisions - continued their end of season tournament.
Since 2000, Jays Care has invested more than $8.15 million towards the creation/refurbishment of 78 safe spaces for children and youth including 44 baseball diamonds across Canada.