Royals RBI expands club's youth sports initiative in Kansas City

March 15th, 2022

KANSAS CITY -- Success stories like that of 16-year-old Jayden Hasam are what make the Kansas City Royals and Major League Baseball continue building on their longtime relationship with community groups like the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City.

Hasam was among the speakers Monday at a reception at the Kansas City Urban Youth Academy to announce an enhanced partnership between the Royals and the Boys & Girls Club. Hasam, from nearby Grandview, said he learned to play baseball through MLB's Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities program, which the Royals manage with the Boys & Girls Club. Other MLB teams in other cities support similar endeavors.

A bigger operation in Kansas City will be able to reach more kids like Hasam, who started by "picking grass at the tee-ball level" but also learned the basics and finer points of baseball to become one of the better players in the program.

The expanded partnership, which has been renamed Royals RBI, will provide at least 1,000 boys and girls with new programming, mentorships equipment, coaches and volunteers for baseball and softball teams. The partnership also will provide direct access to the Royals’ Sport Development Team, athletic trainers and personnel to add a new level of baseball expertise to the program at the Youth Academy's state-of-the-art facilities.

"We need more athletes, we need more players and we need more future coaches, and this partnership is going to help make all that happen," said Hasam, the Boys & Girls Club Youth of the Year.

Kids ages 5-18 can participate in baseball and softball, but the opportunities go beyond the field of play. The programs emphasize improving academic success, building strong character, being conscientious citizens, and making healthy lifestyle choices. Further, more than 250 participants in the RBI program have received college scholarships over the past 12 years alone.

Dr. Dred Scott, president & CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City, said RBI has made a huge impact in Kansas City since it was started in 1996. It has continued to grow thanks to the influence of Royals team president Dayton Moore and local government officials in K.C., who ensured the program would see increased resources through the years. Looking ahead, an enhanced Royals RBI can help more kids than ever, which is going to have an exponential impact on the community.

"I hope that it is a partnership that outlives my time at the clubs and lasts for generations," Scott said. "That's what we're here for. That's what we're passionate about.

“Our RBI program challenges youth mentally and physically while teaching the importance of teamwork, leadership and other life skills. This partnership with the Royals will help strengthen our footprint in Kansas City and allow more youth to participate."

Hasam has already lived it, and continues to benefit.

“Last summer was the most fun I’ve had yet playing baseball,” said Hasam, whose team got to play kids from other cities like St. Louis, Chicago and Indianapolis in a tournament. “It’s an experience that’s helped me grow not only as a ballplayer, but as a person. The more kids in the community we can reach, the better the community as a whole will be.”