(Sounds of chanting and cheering) What a sound. Kids walking and cheering the love of baseball.
We caught these players marching in the opening day parade around Calas Park in the city of
Carson in LA County. But this morning.. There’s even more reason
to celebrate. That’s April Fernando throwing out the first
pitch. Her husband Maverick is playing catcher. So what did they do to earn this honor?
“Everybody had their own different ideas and dreams of what they’re gonna do, and
ours was to come here and help the kids.” April helped by making a financial donation
to transform, what was a practice field at the park, into a 2nd fully functional game
field. This one, sized down, making it better suited
for the youngest players. “One thing you’ll notice is the distance
between the pitcher’s mound where I’m at, and home plate.”
There’s an interesting backside to this story.
This is a self-described blue collar neighborhood. So when the Calas Park Volunteer Association
put out the call for contributions there was limited response. Then, a game changer. April
and a group of co-workers won a small Lottery prize. Their pool matched 5 out of 6 numbers
in the Mega Millions draw on April 6 2012. Splitting a prize of $272 thousand before
taxes. But, small actions can make a huge difference.
The Fernando’s reached out to their son’s coach.. offering to make the Association’s
dream of a second playing field a reality. “It took me by surprise. Not just anybody
can do that.” The Fernandos plopped down approximately $3,500
to revamp the field. That’s not all. “It put an exclamation point on community.”
That’s because, once the Fernandos stepped up, dozens of other people did too.
“We had coaches and volunteers several Saturdays and Sundays, and we actually built that field.”
“I was picking up little rocks that could interfere by tripping a kid.”
Yes, everyone from the kids to the grownups did what they could to make it happen. Volunteers
have reshaped the playing surface, spruced up the benches and fencing. One family even
offered to mow the grass. “It’s people that live across the street,
down the street two blocks. And, so, it was the exclamation mark on … It’s a “volunteers“ field. It’s a community park. A volunteer field of dreams. Where kids are
encouraged to play … childhood and family memories in the making.
“It just feels good you know, family thing. You’re doing the right thing when you’re
here, you know that.“ That reality is not lost on anyone, including
the family who gave up thousands to make it happen.
“For me it was easy. It was a swipe of a pen. It wasn’t money I earned. So it
was easy. Easy choice.“ “Do you feel like you missed out on that
money?” “No, I don’t miss the money. That’s
the greatest thing to see. That you can see every day.”
Every day, including opening day. In Carson, I’m Donna Cordova with your CA Lottery News.