Peace Corps Volunteers Help Bring Little League Baseball to Poland

WASHINGTON, D.C., August 25, 1996 — How do you say "Play Ball!" in Polish? Twenty-Four Peace Corps volunteers said "Grac w Pilke!" this season as they assisted in bringing Little League Baseball to Poland.

Because Polish children did not have access to baseball equipment, Peace Corps' "Gifts In Kind" program along with Little League Baseball, Inc., provided donated equipment, including bats, balls, gloves, and batting helmets to help develop more than a dozen teams in five Polish towns including the "Bialowieza Bison." The Liberty Bell Foundation, based in Fort Washington, Penn., transported more than 100 boxes of baseball equipment overseas, along with a shipment of English books.

Peace Corps Director Mark Gearan said he is pleased that Peace Corps volunteers are getting involved in Little League baseball. "This is an alternative means for community development," he said. "Through baseball, the Peace Corps is teaching children the importance of teamwork, discipline, diversity, and practice."

Poland is the 12th country where Peace Corps volunteers have developed plans to organize youth baseball and softball since 1992. Maybe one of the teams one day will make it to the Little League World Series, now being held in Williamsport, Penn.

Other countries where Peace Corps volunteers have initiated children's baseball and softball teams are: Thailand, Costa Rica, Uganda, Armenia, Tunisia, Jamaica, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, the Ukraine, Hungary, and Cameroon.

Since 1961, more than 140,000 volunteers have served in the Peace Corps. Today, as the Peace Corps celebrates its 35th anniversary, nearly 7,000 volunteers serve in 93 countries working to create economic opportunities, protect and restore the environment, keep families healthy, teach farming techniques for the future, and expand education. Some also teach the finer points of hitting and throwing.

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