Baylor Baseball Star Cooper Kinney Helps Secure $10,000 Grant For Southside Youth Development
(press release) Chattanooga, TN – Sports have seen a double-digit decline over the past decade, largely due to tighter budgets in communities, but young people that participate in sports are found to be happier, healthier and better students. Gatorade Play It Forward empowers Gatorade Player of the Year recipients across the country to award local or national sports organizations with grants, so they can continue helping young athletes enjoy the benefit of sports.
After Cooper Kinney won the Gatorade TN Baseball Player of the Year award, he then submitted a video to be considered for a spotlight grant. Gatorade awards twelve Spotlight Grants of $10,000, one for each sport recognized by the Player of the Year program.
“The Gatorade Player of the Year award highlights student-athletes who set an example both on and off the field” said Kara Darling, Assistant Marketing Manager for Gatorade Player of the Year. “The grants give these athletes a chance to donate to organizations like, Southside Youth Development, that positively impact the youth in their own communities.”
“I believe that participation in sports has a unique opportunity to develop grit and character within the hearts and minds of our youth. SYD is incredibly grateful that Cooper chose our non-profit worthy of the $1,000 grant. When I received news that we won the $10,000 National Grant Prize I was astounded! The funds will be utilized to purchase more baseball equipment and continue to improve the baseball field at Emma Wheeler Homes in the downtown Chattanooga area. Our coaches and volunteers firmly believe that one adult can make a lifelong impact in a child’s life through mentorship along with allowing opportunities for education, experiences, and exposure – providing a vision for what could be and should be for their lives.” – Program Coordinator and Howard High School Baseball Coach, Jon Johnson.
“We’re very excited about this award and the opportunity that it grants us to continue on our mission to serve the kids in Southside Chattanooga. Baseball is a unifying sport and we continue to see it every day. This partnership with Cooper, Coach Kinney, and the rest of the folks at Baylor is a prime example of that, as we’ve all come together to support and provide opportunities for the children in these underserved communities to explore and grow in the sport. We’ve also seen how the reconditioning of the baseball field this summer at the Emma Wheeler Homes community has brought the children and their parents/grandparents out to spend time together outdoors, bringing a sense of pride and unity to the community.” – Southside Youth Development President and TVA Engineer, Xavier Cotto.
The Tampa Bay Rays made Cooper Kinney the 34th overall pick in July’s MLB Draft.