Play ball: Law enforcement and community build bonds on baseball diamond

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Active Chicagoland law enforcement and community members team up to give back, bridging the gap between cops and kids by playing baseball.

"I patrol the streets of Ford Heights, Harvey along with the Chicago area and wanted to do something speaking with the youth to get them out of the streets and do something positive," said Michael Ware, Cook County Investigator and founder of South Side Defenders.

Ware founded the non-profit baseball team along with fellow law enforcement from the Chicago Police Department and a counselor from Chicago Public Schools. They created the organization to make a connection with kids and their families.

"We're letting them know that you can trust law enforcement, they are the same as you. We also spend time doing community service with the kids as well," said Taketia Ware, co-founder.

However, it's not all about baseball; kids also receive mentoring.

"Baseball is a game of life. It teaches you different things. Different things they have going on, so I sit with them just like I sit with the guys at the school I work with now. They have hardships and different things going on as well, so I kind of counsel them and give them that motivate that they need as well. Just to get through baseball and through life in general," said Julius Patterson, co-founder and BAM counselor at Morgan Park High School.

Organizers hope mentoring, community service and a little baseball will be a welcome change the community needs.

The South Side Defenders have partnered with the Harvey Park District for games this spring. To learn more about the organization or to donate, click here.
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