SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) — With the recent increase in shootings, one Shreveport pastor said he has an initiative that could take the youth off of the streets and into something positive.
Pastor Brian Wilson, with Galilee Baptist Church, shared that the ” Urban Tee Ball League” is just that. Wilson said he feels starting with children while they are young is the best way to guide them to a better and safer Shreveport.
“I think relationships and community is what this builds.”
The league the first of its kind in the city. Wilson says he has collaborated with Shreveport city officials and Airline High School’s baseball team.
“It’s very important to have our young people with options to play when we’re talking about baseball, soccer, or whatever, to give our young people this option is great and we’re happy as a city to be partnering with them as well on this league,” Mayor Adrian Perkins said.
“The whole idea is to re-introduce our children in the African American community back into the game of baseball. Try to preserve that game in our community while at the same time not only teaching our kids to play baseball but teaching them how to pray,” Wilson said.
Pastor Wilson shared that he knows the program works from his personal experiences.
“I grew up in Shreveport playing in SPAR and most of my relationships, my lifetime relationships were formed with my teammates. my best friends today were my teammates when I was a child.”
Each team is named after a negro league baseball team, instilling the rich history of African Americans and pride.
“Our babies are our future always and we want to make sure that we do things that embrace community and this is a first step towards that. we are a better Shreveport when we work together,” Councilwoman Tabatha Taylor said.
Wilson hopes the new league will bring the community together to possibly end the cycle of gun violence.
“When they get to a certain age in their teenage years we would have been able to mentor them and they won’t get to the point where they are committing violence.”
One mother told KTAL/KMSS why she chose to get her son involved.
“I want for him to know that it’s much more to life than to what he sees which is murders, which is crimes, which is heartache, which is pain, and the ugly side of the world. There is a fairy tale unicorn, green grass, and playfulness,” Chardell Edwards said.
Thursday they held their opening ceremony at the Galilee Missionary Baptist church’s baseball field. The program is free for all children to join. Wilson said they wanted to start with at least 40 participants but now they have over 100. For details and registration click here or call 318-221-2629.