Dreams came true on the corner of San Diego and San Vicente in the San Miguel neighborhood on Saturday. As part of a partnership between Major League Baseball and the Boys and Girls Club of Mexico, representatives from the two organizations along with Dodgers pitcher Kenley Jansen, Padres outfielder Manuel Margot, Mexican pitching legend Fernando Valenzuela, and Hall of Fame Dodgers Spanish-language broadcaster Jaime Jarrin dedicated refurbishments to the computer center at the Club de Ninos y Ninas de Nuevo Leon, located in the Escobedo municipality.
“This is our second Boys & Girls Club that we are doing outside of the United States, the second in Mexico, and the clubs here work very closely with the Boys & Girls Club of America, our official charity, to make sure the programs here mirror their counterparts in the United States,” said Tom Brasuell, vice president of community affairs for MLB. “We want to see kids learn, play and grow. We want them to learn baseball, but we also want them to succeed in the classroom as well.”
The club in San Miguel, which is modeled after Boys & Clubs of America, serves more than 400 children daily. The center will feature new computers, printers, and interactive blackboards.
“You just want to have a positive influence on the children,” Jansen said. “I really enjoy being here with them and inspiring them because I was a kid once, too. It was nice see the kids supporting us and having fun with it, but it was about them and providing a place where boys and girls can learn.”
Jarrin served as the master of ceremonies for the event, which was held in the facility’s library. Brasuell reinforced Major League Baseball’s commitment to serving communities on and off the field and Valenzuela shared a few inspirational words. Jorge Garcia Segovia, president of Boys & Girls Clubs of Mexico, and Monica Sanchez, the Executive Director of the organization, were also in attendance.
“I think it’s important to give back to all people and not to forget people that have always supported you,” Valenzuela said. “What I always try to tell kids is to combine education and sports, because education is a really important part of life. Yes, in sports you can have a career, but you never know when that career will end. You focus on studying and that can help your entire life.”
Eduardo Ortega, the Padres’ Spanish-language broadcaster, and Alanna Rizzo, the Dodgers reporter for SportsNet L.A., were also among the guests present. Jansen and Margot participated in the ribbon cutting ceremony and later signed caps and baseballs for the children. They were among the last to leave the building when the ceremony was over.
“This is real world, being with the kids and giving back to the community,” said Ortega, who is from Mexico and is in 32nd season with the Padres. “To serve the kids, give them these types of spaces is something that makes the communities much better. What Major League Baseball is doing through these initiatives is something the entire world must do to help the children of the future.