Twelve-year-old Erik Gomez has one dream: to be a professional Major League Baseball player. He wears a championship ring from a tournament in Cooperstown and his favorite player is Fernando Tatis, Jr. of the Padres. Gomez trains five to six days a week at PAWS, a one-of-a-kind center with a turfed field, pitching machines, an amazing sound system and graffiti-lined walls. You may remember PAWS or “Providing Animal Welfare Services” as a group that supports city pet owners. The owners built dog houses, launched a spay/neuter program, and provided low-cost pet care units. Starting in 2018, they worked diligently on a new vision to serve the community through sports. After a few years and a lot of hard work, the youth and advocacy center officially opened. Cofounders Matt and Laura Piccone believe that sports, primarily baseball and softball, will be the catalyst for social change within their community.
“I still have a strong drive to help the animals, but you have to help the people first,” says Matt. “If communities are suffering, animals are suffering. If people are concerned with baseball, they start to […]
585kids.com [Fall 2023 Issue]