HOUSTON -- One of the longstanding traditions incorporated into the World Series each year is the implementation of the Fall Classic Legacy initiative, designed to give back to the World Series host communities.
MLB and the Astros will provide a new Chevrolet van to offer reliable transportation for children served by the Buckner Family Hope Center at Reed Road, which is part of the Cornerstone Community campus shared by nonprofits Buckner, New Hope Housing and Star of Hope.
The donation of the van will enable Buckner to shuttle children to activities at the Astros MLB Youth Academy at Sylvester Turner Park and will provide better access for Buckner to engage residents in Sunnyside, one of Houston’s most underserved communities.
“One of the reasons we picked Buckner here in Sunnyside, Texas, is because we actually have two community leagues right here in the Sunnyside area,” said Paula Harris, executive director of the Astros Foundation and senior vice president of Astros community affairs. “We want the kids that are here at New Hope and Star of Hope to have the hope to come over to the Sunnyside league and play Little League. That’s why in partnership with MLB, the Astros Foundation is extremely excited to have this Legacy project and provide a van to Buckner International.”
Legacy projects serve as a poignant reminder that when a team reaches a World Series, the benefits of victory extend far beyond the players on each team bringing a league championship to their city. Houston has been to four World Series in the past six seasons, which means several of the city’s communities have received assistance, altering their qualities of life in positive ways. A year ago, for example, the Houston Area Women’s Center was the beneficiary of the MLB Legacy project.
As is the case with most Legacy projects, kids are a main focus.
“When the Astros Foundation said they wanted to provide the Buckner Family Hope Center here with a brand-new van, which will increase their reach throughout Sunnyside, we were 100 percent on board,” said April Brown, MLB’s vice president of social responsibility. “This is what we do at Major League Baseball every day. We try to close the gaps that are felt by underserved communities and really increase the access and resources for families.”
The morning gathering in Sunnyside included appearances by two well-known figures: former Astro and current team executive Enos Cabell, and Sheila Jackson Lee, U.S. Representative for Texas’ 18th congressional district.
“If we get a bat and a ball in the hands of a child, then you set them on a new pace altogether,” Lee said. “And you set them on a long-lasting pace that gives them joy and their families joy. I hope this will expand. I know this residential community has brought excitement and life to this part of our city.”
“This is probably one of the last underdeveloped areas in the Houston area,” Cabell said. “What they’re doing here is really fantastic. Major League Baseball has stepped up, and when [Astros owner] Jim Crane took over 10, 11 years ago, he always said he wanted to build something in the foundation that would cover all of Houston. This is fantastic.”