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Vietnam Gets its First Little League Program

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (Nov. 28, 2006) – Joining more than 70 other countries with Little League programs, Vietnam has received its first Little League charter, and four teams will begin playing baseball in 2007.

The league will be located in the town of Dong Ha, which is the capital of the Quang Tri Province.

“The Little League movement continues to spread around the world, and we are proud to add Vietnam to the long list of nations with Little League programs,” Stephen D. Keener, president and chief executive officer of Little League Baseball and Softball, said. “We know that the positive effects of Little League will be of benefit to the Vietnamese children. We also look forward to the day when the first Vietnamese Little Leaguers advance beyond their borders for international play.”

The first four teams will be in the Tee Ball baseball division, with plans to expand the program into other divisions in coming years. In addition to receiving the first charter for a Little League program in Vietnam, the league also will receive a free “starter kit” of baseball equipment from Wilson Sporting Goods Company, a Little League corporate sponsor and supplier of the official baseballs and softballs of the Little League World Series and regional tournaments.

The project is led by Kids First Vietnam, a non-profit humanitarian organization founded in 1996. Kids First creates and improves services for disadvantaged young people, some with disabilities, so that they may mature into adults with equal opportunities with full community inclusion, self-reliance and economic self-sufficiency. Kids First built the first handicapped-accessible elementary school in Vietnam.

Kids First also is building a Rehabilitation Village in Dong Ha to provide treatment, education and career training for disadvantaged young people in the central Vietnam region. Kids First has a scholarship fund that currently supports 272 disadvantaged children, many with physical disabilities, and a vocational training program that teaches young women sewing skills.

Without the removal of the landmines in Dong Ha, Kids First would not have been able to build the facilities to help the youth in the province become self-sustaining members of their communities. For more information on Kids First Vietnam, visit http://www.kidsfirstvietnam.org/new/index.php

Little League Baseball and Softball is the world’s largest youth sports program, with nearly 2.7 million players and more than 1 million adult volunteers worldwide. For more information on Little League, visit http://www.littleleague.org


The ground is leveled for the first Little League Baseball field in Vietnam as the league prepares for the 2007 season.