When people find out that I’m working for the C You In the Major Leagues Foundation, the reaction of surprise seems to be similar regardless of which side the person’s on — those who know me more as a writer (Dayton’s co-author, as a matter of fact) but aren’t familiar with C You In The Major Leagues, or those who know the foundation but not me. When they hear what I’m doing, it’s common to get “Why you? Why CYITML?” They might as well be saying in their best Clark Griswold voice, “If I woke up tomorrow with my head sewn to the carpet I wouldn’t be more surprised than I am right now.”

My answer to both questions is pretty similar, and it starts earlier in 2015. While working with Dayton on his book, More Than A Season, which we started in December 2014, he would occasionally talk about his C You In The Major Leagues Foundation. After all, 100% of the author profits from the sale of the book are going to the foundation. But then in April, we got into a long discussion of what he wants the foundation to do and to become.

“My dream for awhile has been to build an urban baseball academy that will grow the game in Kansas City, obviously, but more importantly it will help young people become leaders, plus we can serve families, support education, and help with faith-based groups,” Dayton said. “This is going to be huge. I want it to be a lasting legacy for children and families in Kansas City long after we’re gone.”

Hearing Dayton’s passion for this project and the ways he wants to touch lives in Kansas City and beyond, is infectious. Although I knew I wanted to help C You In The Major Leagues, at that moment in April, I felt a deep desire to get involved on a meaningful level. As someone who grew up in the Kansas City area, moved to another part of the country for 12 years, and then came back, I love Kansas City. It’s home and, Lord willing, always will be. So to be able to play a small role in something as significant as the C You In The Major Leagues Foundation, can be life-changing.

In September, as you may remember, it was announced that, through public and private funds from Major League Baseball, the Kansas City Royals, the city of Kansas City, Mo., and private donors, the Kansas City MLB Urban Youth Academy would become a reality near the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. Frankly, it’s going to be huge. It’s going to be big in size — with four fields, a walking track, community areas, indoor baseball facilities, etc. — but, more importantly, it’s going to be big in its impact on the Kansas City community. This will be a lasting legacy for children and families in Kansas City long after we’re gone.

More details in the next several months, but for now I’ll say that we look forward to working with children and their families when the Kansas City MLB Urban Youth Academy opens. There are many ways that all of us, through C You In The Major Leagues, can make a major impact with the Academy, but for children and families throughout greater Kansas City. And we hope that you’ll consider coming along with us in this venture. For all of us, watching as baseball grows future leaders, while helping children with their education, aiding families in crisis, and promoting faith-based groups and organizations, is everlasting.

If you’d like to get involved and make a year-end contribution to C You In The Major Leagues, please click here.

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