Improve the lives of underprivileged kids in largely low-income neighborhoods by providing the opportunity to play baseball.
You've heard of paying it forward. Bob Hellman, founder of Build Our Ballpark, is playing it forward.
Hellman's lifelong passion has been baseball – playing it, watching it, sharing it with others ... living and breathing it.
"Growing up on the east side of Waterloo, Iowa, I lived just twelve blocks away from the current location of Dr. Walter Cunningham School for Excellence," said Hellman. "It was there that my lifelong passion for baseball was born. As a little league player all those years ago, I remember I lived for baseball. I also remember most often having to ride my bike to other parts of town to play ball."
Now, as the founder and Chairman of the Board of a successful advertising agency, Hellman decided he needed to give back to the game that had given him so much. He was excited when the opportunity arose to build a showcase ball field at the Dr. Walter Cunningham School for Excellence near his childhood home.
Hellman and his family committed a $75,000 memorial gift honoring his parents toward the development of a ballpark to be used by area little leaguers and women's softball players. He and staff members, along with the school, City of Waterloo, donors, and area citizens worked to make the dream become a reality.
Hellman Field, as it was dubbed, features a totally equipped baseball field, including spectator bleachers, electronic scoreboard, sod infield and outfield, outfield fence, dugouts, concession stand, and lights for nighttime games.
The ballpark hit a homerun with the community. He realized that if he and other community-minded citizens could build a ballpark here, then a ballpark could be built anywhere there is a need. All it takes is teamwork.
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