SELF and Fondren foundations bring baseball, unity to school community
When baseball season begins next spring, the students at Francis Scott Key Middle School will be running the bases of their new baseball field. The Stacey and Bo Porter SELF Foundation, in partnership with the Fondren Foundation, are together donating the construction and support for the field.
“Part of our mission is facility improvements, and this is a step in that direction,” said Bo Porter, chairman of SELF — which stands for Sports, Education, Lifeskills, and Faith.
The school orchestra played while students and faculty joined community dignitaries for the formal groundbreaking ceremony. Along with Stacey and Bo Porter, Robert Fondren of the Fondren Foundation welcomed guests, which included State Rep. Sylvester Turner, HISD Board of Education member Rhonda Skillern-Jones, Washington Nationals co-owner Fred Zeidman, Astros great Enos Cabell, Ralph Garr of the Atlanta Braves, Garrett Mock from the Washington Nationals, and Ryan Terry, former Arizona Cardinals running back. Community partners Chick-fil-A and Kroger donated refreshments for the occasion.
The baseball field will be built by SFM Landscape and Maintenance, LLC, through funds granted by the Fondren Foundation. The SELF Foundation is supporting after school programs of club baseball and flag football. The field will be open to the entire community for recreational and competitive games.
“We’re going to have a state-of-the-art baseball field,” said Joseph Williams, Key MS principal. “We can teach kids the sport of baseball and just bring the community closer together.”
The programs offered by the SELF Foundation are designed to facilitate the development of the youth in underserved communities, to help them mature as a whole person physically, intellectually, socially, and spiritually, with the goal of improving and enhancing the overall success of the community.
“This baseball field will be a vehicle that will help their development,” said Porter. “Team sports is always a great avenue for kids to learn discipline, hard work and getting along with other people and sportsmanship.”
Last spring, as the pilot school for the Stacey and Bo Porter SELF Foundation’s afterschool program, Key MS students participated in afterschool activities, including tutorial assistance, life skills development, sports, spiritual enrichment and field trips to support their academic, social and emotional development. Key MS students involved in the program benefited from improved reading and math STAAR test scores, better attendance, and decreased disciplinary issues. This fall Revere MS and Welch MS joined the program, as well.