May marked the start of Get IN Chicago’s 2016 Police/Youth Baseball Leagues, which bring together 200 youth and Chicago Police Department officers in an attempt to change the perception of police. Based on the league’s success in its inaugural 2015 season, this year’s program is doubling in size and will serve 12 teams, each one coached by a staff of Chicago police officers.

In addition to the league’s Englewood 100-youth division at Hamilton Park with Teamwork Englewood, this year 100 kids from North Lawndale will get the chance to suit up and take the field at Franklin Park with BBF Family Services.  Participants will learn teamwork, hone their baseball skills and participate in mentoring sessions over eight weeks of practice.  Six weeks of games will give players the opportunity to put show off their new skills and sportsmanship.  At the conclusion of the season, players from both leagues plan to meet for an All-Star game, date to be determined.

mentoring 5.4.

“This program will provide a fun and safe activity for 200 young people this summer,” said Toni Irving, Executive Director of Get IN Chicago.  “But our greater hope is that the leagues will engender relationships and mindsets that last long after summer ends.”

Surveys of over 50 participants last year showed that youth improved their perceptions of police and their own ability to make a difference in their communities.  This year, Get IN Chicago plans to evaluate both leagues to measure improvements in perceptions of police among all 200 youth participants and changes in officer-coaches’ ability to work in partnership with youth.

The leagues are financed by Get IN Chicago, a private funder with a public mission working to address youth violence.  A number of local businesses and partners are donating additional resources, time, and support to the leagues.  Among them, Mesirow Financial, an independent, diversified financial-services firm, is donating uniforms in Englewood.


Funding for the baseball leagues is part of Get IN Chicago’s total Summer 2016 investment of $1.6 million.  These grants, which also include support for Smart Chicago’s Youth-Led Tech and soon-to-be announced summer programs for acutely high-risk youth, will provide opportunities for more than 1,000 kids.

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