BOBS, nonprofits team up to offer low-income children the opportunity to play ball

White Sox players laugh as the "Jeopardy" theme plays over the loudspeakers during a meeting at the mound during the Babe Ruth American League championship game on Tuesday at Kofu Park. June 26, 2018

A local youth sports organization and a national nonprofit organization are teaming up to offer low-income children the chance to play ball.

Through Babe Ruth Baseball, the Boosters for Boys and Girls Sports will be providing qualifying youngsters discounted registration fees courtesy of the Every Kids Sports Pass this season.

Every Kids Sports Pass provides grants to youth sports leagues across the country, and will pay as much as $150 in BOBS registration fees for children from eligible income-restricted families this season.

“It’s just a great way to provide kids who otherwise couldn’t play with us, the chance to be able to come out,” BOBS president Kurt Anderson said.

In order for a child to qualify, they must be enrolled in programs such as Medicaid, SNAP or WIC and be between the ages of 4 and 18.

The sport for which they are registering must be recreational — meaning teams do not travel, nor are they elite — and the season must last a minimum of four weeks.

While the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing lockdowns shut down youth sports leagues for a short time last year, Anderson said the BOBS baseball and softball seasons were not hurt.

“We were probably 20% off (registrations) last year,” he said. “But we played ball all season and had full rosters.”

The Every Kids Sports Pass is not the only partnership of which BOBS has created. The league has also partnered with Lodi Adopt A Child and Community Partnerships For Families of San Joaquin to provide Play Lodi scholarships with its members as well.

“Lodi Adopt A Child is known for its Christmas drive where we collect toys and clothing,” board member Kathryn Siddle said. “But we wanted to do something that was going to be more than just once a year, so I had the idea to provide scholarships through Play Lodi.”

Scholarships are available for youngsters participating in all sports offered through the city’s Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services, and by partnering with CPFSJ, children and their families will have access to a variety of services for low-income households.

The program was initiated last year with $10,000 in donations available for scholarships. Siddle said not all of the scholarships were distributed, and as more people heard about the program, more donations have been received.

“It turned out to be a fantastic partnership between Lodi Adopt A Child, Community Partnership for Families, and the BOBS,” Siddle said.

For more information about Every Kids Sports Pass, visit everykidsports.org. For more information about the Play Lodi scholarships, visit tinyurl.com/PlayLodi.

To register for BOBS leagues, visit lodibobs.net

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