Volunteer, Employee and Partner Recognitions
This Thanksgiving and everyday of the year, we are grateful for the volunteers who define our organization by inspiring those around them with their compassion and dedication. In 2020, when the world flipped upside down and the most vulnerable were pushed to the edge of existence, we joined millions of others who stepped up to the plate to comfort those in need. Today, we would like to recognize a few of those volunteers, employees and partners who led that humanitarian charge.
Some led our Immediate Relief Program to provide all meals and COVID protection supplies to over 120 Colombian and Venezuelan families for three full months. Over 48,000 meals were provided to over 480 individuals thanks to our generous donors, and the tireless efforts of our team and the community leaders that inspired the initiative.
After the tsunami of cases and death subsided, others realized that much more needed to be done to cure this epidemic. In many parts of the world, kids had lost a year of education and human interaction during the most precious years of their lives. These volunteers and partners rose to the occasion and helped develop the virtual All-Star English and Digital Exchange programs to bring hope back and provide a bridge to forge the global tragedy.
Thanks to our amazing donors, we were able to continue the flow of baseball and softball supplies to the kids in 2020. These volunteers and partners made that possible through storage, logistics and excellent management during 2020.
Anderson Acosta - Immediate Relief Program
This award is a long time coming to Anderson, who started with us in Bogota, Colombia at age 16 in 2015. As the student body president at his highschool in Bosa, Bogota, he reached out to Project Beisbol interested in starting a baseball program for his classmates. That program was our first in Bogota and change the course of several kids lives, enabling them to compete on the national level. Anderson stayed on board, supporting our organization in a variety of ways while obtaining his law degree at the Universidad Libre.
Then in May 2020, fresh out of law school, he was there when we needed him. He helped design and plan the Immediate Relief Program, and ensured the safe and legal deployment of our humanitarian program across Colombia to combat the pandemic and save lives. His focus and dedication enabled Project Beisbol to feed nearly 500 people during the most turbulent time in our lifetime. He is getting married next week to the love of his life. We wish him and his bride all the very best!
Tania Rojas - Immediate Relief Program
Tania came on board as our Administrative Coordinator one month before the onset of the pandemic in 2020. What was to be a 9-5 job turned into an around the clock gig for the next six month of her life. She coordinated every single aspect of the Immediate Relief Program - from the definition of nutrition elements and application process to the day-to-day communications with local community partners, deployment of resources, and tracking of the program.
When the dust settled in late summer 2020, she helped design All-Star English, the next wave of support for our partners. Although she never touched a baseball or saw a field in 2020, she left an indelible impact on our charity and the lives of hundreds during her time with Project Beisbol.
Nicolas Gallo - Immediate Relief Program
The un-official co-founder of Project Beisbol, Nicolas helped lead the first exploratory mission in Nicaragua in 2008. He helped define and lead the organization for years before fully dedicating his time to his real estate construction business.
When times got tough in 2020 and our local community partners were suffering due to the pandemic, he came out of retirement to help design the Immediate Relief Program, benefiting over 480 people in 15 communities across Colombia for three full months. His guidance and insight ensured the success, fairness and safety of the program for all involved.
Curtis Bartel - All-Star English
A social revolutionary by nature, Curtis joined Project Beisbol in 2019. When we floated the idea of All-Star English and the Digital Exchange in late 2020 to combat the education and human interaction crisis resulting from the pandemic, Curtis was the first to offer his support. He proceeded to draft grant proposals for both programs resulting in the expansion of the program from 20 students to 100 students thanks to the U.S. Embassy in Colombia.
All-Star English is now a core element of the mission of Project Beisbol and will remain so forever. His passion for education and social justice inspire all of us. Curtis now works for the Red Cross serving thousands in the New Orleans area.
Yolima Ferreira - Equipment Operations
Yolima joined Project Beisbol in 2019 after participating in the Sport for Social Change exchange program funded by the U.S. Department of State. She showed great leadership skills off the bat while helping coordinate the MLB Players Trust Good Will Tour in Cartagena and Barranquilla in late 2019.
When the borders opened up in late 2020, she led the effort to coordinate, ship and track 42 - 50 lbs. boxes of baseball supplies to 42 allies related to the Players Trust event, bringing hope to weary ball players and teams across the coast.
Today, she continues with us as Operations Coordinator on the national level in Colombia. She is also one of our leading students in the All-Star English league and Digital Exchange programs.
Malvern Prep - Teresa Lohse - Digital Exchange
We first met Teresa in 2018 during the Sport for Social Change exchange program when she brought four highschool baseball players from Malvern Prep to Colombia. Right away, we could tell that we had connected with a wonderful education partner and it was the beginning of great things to come. When we pitched our Digital Exchange, Teresa and Malvern Prep were the first ones to jump on board to support the program. In fact, Teresa was key in advising on the design and content of the program.
The Digital Exchange was a success, connecting students from the USA and Colombia to practice their second language in a real world setting and discuss important social issues. Teresa is currently a Spanish teacher, and the Director of Language Curriculum and Global Exchanges. We look forward to the next program with Malvern and Teresa!
Four Star Services - Dave McLeod - Storage
We also connected with Dave McLeod through the Sport for Social Change exchange program in 2018, when he brought five young ball players to Colombia to participate in education, cultural and sports activities. On the tail end of the exchange in 2019, Dave organized all the activities in Florida and made it an unforgettable experience for all. He was the perfect fit to join us as Operations Manager and he has been indispensable ever since, managing inventory and shipping.
In 2020, we were in need of new storage space for our growing inventory, Dave’s employer Four Star Plumbing Service in Fort Lauderdale stepped up to the plate and offered to store our excess inventory and serve as our inventory management, shipping and receiving hub to date. Over the last two years, Four Star Services generosity has saved Project Beisbol over $7,000.
Read the Spanish version here.