The Times West Virginian

Local News

May 18, 2014

‘You’ve got to have somewhere to play’

Mon Youthbuild helps construct dugouts for new field in Mannington

MANNINGTON — The Mannington Youth Baseball Organization found volunteers to help them build a second baseball field.

The baseball organization received a grant from the Marion County Parks and Recreation Commission to build a new baseball field. The non-profit organization used the grant money to purchase supplies for the project but needed volunteers to help put the material together.

“For 75 kids, it’s unreal for them to play on one field,” Rachel Donell, president of the Mannington Youth Baseball Organization, said.

Mon Youthbuild came into the picture and assembled new dugouts for the new baseball field free of charge.

Michael Spangler is a student with the Mon Youthbuild. Spangler said he enjoys working on community projects.

“It helps out the community a lot; I love doing it,” Spangler said.

Donell said the Mannington community will benefit from this project.

“It helps because it gives the kids somewhere to play ball. There are 75 kids in the baseball program. We needed a second field,” Donell said. “The community now has a place for the kids to play ball, and they needed dugouts in order to play ball.”

According to Donell, Mannington had six teams that were community funded 20 years ago. The Mannington baseball facilities became “run down” over time, and new facilities were needed.

“We had the property to use, but we needed the parts,” Donell said. “Baseball is America’s pastime. If you love the sport, you’ve got to have somewhere to play.”

Donell is incredibly thankful for the Mon Youthbuild’s help.

“Just a big thank you to them. It saved us so much,” Donell said. ”A humongous ‘thank you.’ That is all I have to say.”

Mon Youthbuild students worked on the project in groups. The dugout construction was planned and executed using skills that the group learned in the field and in the classroom, according to Mon Youthbuild program coordinator Taylor Runner.

“The Youthbuild model involves a multi-layered program for youth,” Runner said. “We assist them in developing leadership skills and relationships with the community. That’s kind of how the Mannington project manifested.”

According to Runner, students in the Youthbuild program spend half their time in the field learning skills and the other half in the classroom

“Primarily, the program is designed to assist young adults who have not completed their high school diploma but also are interested in learning sought job skills like construction,” Runner said.

The dugouts are still under construction, needing skids and a roof among other things, but are nearing completion. Taylor said the parents will finish the dugouts by painting them when the construction is over.

Some of the members of the Mon Youthbuild look at the program as a way of turning around their lives.

Tyler Campbell said he benefited from this program.

“It has helped me become more of an independent person by working somewhat with myself or with a crew feeling more confident in doing jobs like this, building the dugouts or (helping) Habitat for Humanity,” Campbell said. “It has made me feel more of a sense of accomplishment, (and) it makes me feel like I’m becoming a better person out here doing things for the community.”

Runner said the Mon Youthbuild is a program for young adults, aged 17-24, who want to earn an equivalent high school diploma or are interested in learning a variety of construction trades.

The phone number for Mon Youthbuild is 304-366-1119.

Email Richard Babich at rbabich@timeswv.com or follow him on Twitter @rbabichTWV.

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