The objective of the “Pitching for Change” program is to promote leadership, respect for diversity, and provide participants with tools to contribute positively to their communities.
Quito, August 3, 2023. The United States Mission in Ecuador implemented its “Pitching for Change” program, an initiative that seeks to promote inclusion, leadership, and cultural exchange through baseball.
From July 23 to 31, young people from vulnerable sectors of Quito and Guayaquil received baseball and softball training while they played baseball with eight university students and four American coaches who were in the country to share knowledge and skills. The participants developed soft skills such as leadership, teamwork, and conflict resolution.
“Baseball is a tool to talk about leadership, teamwork, and peaceful conflict resolution, which are all very relevant topics for young Ecuadorians who come from sectors with violence and poverty, two issues that neither the United States nor Ecuador are immune to,” said Chigozie Okocha, Public Diplomacy Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Ecuador.
As part of the program, during their stay in Guayaquil, the American group had a meeting with members of the Kennedy Baseball Club, a talk with the coaches, and participated in a training. They also visited the Techo Para un Camino Foundation that helps primarily Venezuelan refugees, and they played kickball (a women-only sport in Venezuela) and soccer. In addition, they held a baseball clinic at the Yeyo Úraga Stadium with 40 young participants.
During their time in Quito, the group held a sports camp in the La Comuna Alta and La Rumiñahui neighborhoods. In both neighborhoods, the group provided baseball practice and learning opportunities to participants from those neighborhoods and surrounding areas. They also held a baseball clinic with coaches and Venezuelan players from the Quito kickball team.
The next step of “Pitching for Change” will be to select 12 young Ecuadorian coaches from Quito and Guayaquil who previously applied to the program. Those chosen will travel to the United States in October to receive training on the same topics and live the exchange experience.
This program was developed thanks to the joint work of the United States Embassy and Consulate with the University of Montana and Gonzaga University, and with the support of the Fundación de las Américas (FUDELA) organization, the program’s implementing partner in Ecuador.
For the United States Government, strengthening capacities of young Ecuadorians and their social integration is very important. With this program, the United States Government demonstrates its commitment to Ecuadorian youth.