On a post-hurricane assessment visit to Puerto Rico, LISC Rural program officer Anna Hurt learned that baseball fields around the island are more than just a place for a game, they are a vital resource that brings the neighborhood together and boosts local economies. Damage to community fields is still deeply felt throughout the island. In this blog, Anna shares the value of bringing sports and recreation into the disaster recovery discussion and the launch of Play Ball Again, a new initiative to revive 25 fields for 17,500 boys and girls across Puerto Rico. Last week, LISC celebrated the opening of two such fields, with support from Maestro Cares Foundation, Good Bunny Foundation, UNICEF USA, and Chicago Cubs Charities, and showed how communities like the one where Ana lives come together for the love of the game, and one another.
Leading names in sports and entertainment joined community leaders and families in Loiza, Puerto Rico, to celebrate the first baseball fields restored through Play Ball Again, a LISC program that aims to revive 25 Little League facilities for 17,500 boys and girls across the island. Funded through strong collaborations with Maestro Cares Foundation, Good Bunny Foundation, UNICEF USA, Chicago Cubs Charities and Kohler Company, the program is focused on urban and rural communities that were hit hard by Hurricanes Maria and Irma.
The deputy director of economic development for PathStone Corporation and a LISC Rubinger Fellow, Javier E. Zapata-Rodríguez has an insider's view on how the fallout from hurricane Maria has shaped economic development in Puerto Rico, the imperative of supporting small business on the island, and how Puerto Ricans have galvanized to build resiliency for themselves, two years after the megastorm made landfall.
LISC has teamed up with Maestro Cares Foundation, Good Bunny Foundation and Cubs Charities to revive damaged Little League fields in Puerto Rico and, in the process, help revitalize communities still scarred from devastating 2017 hurricanes. Music icons Marc Anthony and Bad Bunny are leading the funding, with Chicago Cubs star Javier Báez and UNICEF USA joining the effort to restore these cultural hubs.
When natural disasters strike—as they increasingly have—there are profound differences between response and recovery in rural areas and urban ones. On the eve of the annual Rural LISC seminar (this year in Monticello, New York, June 4-7), vice president and Rural LISC director Suzanne Anarde published an article in Shelterforce about helping community-based organizations better respond when disaster hits, boost rural resilience, and support communities in preparing before disasters befall them.