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Nats' youth academy honored for social work

MLB.com @mlbbowman

The Nationals have been recognized for their commitment to using baseball and softball as a means to promote positive character development, academic achievement and improved health among youth athletes in the underserved communities of Washington D.C.

The Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy was selected as a 2018 winner of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Sports Award. The winners received a $10,000 cash reward and were honored Thursday at the RWJF headquarters in Princeton, N.J.

The Nationals have been recognized for their commitment to using baseball and softball as a means to promote positive character development, academic achievement and improved health among youth athletes in the underserved communities of Washington D.C.

The Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy was selected as a 2018 winner of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Sports Award. The winners received a $10,000 cash reward and were honored Thursday at the RWJF headquarters in Princeton, N.J.

"Congratulations to these organizations and the passionate, dedicated people who lead them," RWJF president and CEO Richard Besser said. "We are inspired by their choice to use healthy play as a starting point to greater social and emotional well-being in their communities. They forge leaders, build greater understanding among strangers and endeavor to heal the personal wounds of discrimination, poverty and inequity."

Tweet from @NatsAcademy: Thank you @RWJF for this honor. Congratulations to @soccerwoborders and @Sannehfdn for sharing in the award with us and for your outstanding work using sports to deliver community impact. #RWJFSportsAward https://t.co/jYY045CtK3 https://t.co/8RbXeHBn08

The Nationals' Academy organizes out-of-school activities for children between the ages of 8-13, who reside in Wards 7 and 8 in D.C., communities located east of the Anacostia River. Programming is designed to improve physical fitness and academic performance. The initiatives provides opportunities for 800 young men and women to play baseball and softball through YBA Play. More than 100 families are supported in building a Culture of Health through nutrition, education, cooking workshops and community events.

"Our holistic approach -- combining sports, nutrition, academics and meaningful civic engagement -- has for the past six years supported underserved children and their families in Washington D.C," said Jennifer Cartland, deputy director of the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy. "We're thrilled to continue working with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Sports Award winners and affiliated organizations in the pursuit of innovative solutions and approaches to enhancing the overall wellness of those we serve."

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com.

Washington Nationals