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 > Little League Online > Media > Little League News Archive > 2005 > Little League International Takes Part in White House Conference on “Helping America’s Youth”

Little League International Takes Part in White House Conference on “Helping America’s Youth”

David James
Director of the Little League Urban Initiative

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (Oct. 27, 2005) – With the benefits of the Little League Urban Initiative now reaching tens of thousands of Americans, Little League International took part in the first White House Conference on Helping America’s Youth at the invitation of President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush.

The event promoted public awareness of the various problems facing at-risk youth, and brought together policymakers, research experts, foundations, faith-based and volunteer organizations, educators, coaches, and parents to share examples of what is already working to make a difference in the lives of young Americans, and generated new ideas that can be used across the country. David James, the director of the Little League Urban Initiative at Little League International in Williamsport, represented Little League.

“I’m glad I was able to share some of the many success stories we have had over the past few years with the Little League Urban Initiative,” Mr. James said. “Little League benefits not only the child athlete, but the entire family, because everyone gets involved. We have been able to grow our programs in dozens of cities, and more are on the way.”

The President and Mrs. Bush believe every American has an opportunity to help children and youth in their families and communities to avoid trouble and lead more hopeful lives. Faith-based, community, and volunteer organizations – such as Little League and its Urban Initiative – are involved in efforts to reach at-risk youth and get them involved in their communities.

Bringing the benefits of the Little League program to children and their parents in metropolitan areas has been the mission of the Little League Urban Initiative since its inception in 1999. Currently, more than 150 local Little Leagues are part of the Urban Initiative. More than 37,000 children living in urban areas play Little League, a community project that is 66 years old this year, as part of the Urban Initiative.

“What is most important to Little League is that local leagues take a patch of grass and dirt, and turn it into a program that can strengthen communities, and strengthen families,” Stephen D. Keener, president and chief executive officer of Little League Baseball and Softball, said. “What happens on the playing field – the wins and losses – really do not matter. What matters is the young people, how they develop, and what they grow to become.”

More information on Helping America’s Youth can be found here.

More information on the Little League Urban Initiative can be found here.