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Time To Play Ball: "OnBase with GRPD" Starts Second Year

Grand Rapids Police Department officers are gearing up for their second year of teaching and mentoring potential “at-risk” kids in the game of baseball.  “ON BASE with GRPD” a baseball mentoring program, is now recruiting youth to participate.

“Building a relationship within the community of the kids and trying to connect with them before they get to a point where they’re going to hate the police.”

Building relationships. Establishing a sense of trust and keeping kids out of harm’s way.  That’s what Sergeant Aaron Rossin says are some of the goals of “ON BASE with GRPD” which is heading now into its second year following a successful first run.

“We’re already starting to see parents and these kids reaching out to us right now, so the kids from last year are showing interest to do it again.”

And at the center, at the core of all the relationship building is baseball.

“What we found is that the kids had zero experience playing baseball. And that was perfect for us. We wanted it to be about the relationships.”

Sgt. Rossin says they’re hoping to build upon last year and double their numbers from 40 to 60 up to 80 or 100.  The fundamentals of baseball and used to teach team work and most importantly, help keep kids off the street and out of trouble.

“We had some kids whose older brothers were part of the gang, if we can get to them now, before they start to make some of those bad decisions. That’s our ultimate goal here.”

Officers started going into schools today and will continue next week.  Play begins mid-June and will run at least until the end of July.   Boys and girls ages 9 thru 12 are welcome and you can find out more on their website at ONBASE with grpd. Com or find them on facebook.

Jennifer is an award winning broadcast news journalist with more than two decades of professional television news experience including the nation's fifth largest news market. She's worked as both news reporter and news anchor for television and radio in markets from Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo all the way to San Francisco, California.