James Wright to Receive Little League Urban Initiative Volunteer of the Year Award
On and off the baseball field, James Wright has dedicated much of his life to furthering the appreciation and influence of Little League in his Tampa, Fla., neighborhood, and Little League International will recognize his commitment with the presentation of the Howard and Gail Paster Little League Urban Initiative Volunteer of the Year Award at the 62nd Little League Baseball World Series in Williamsport, Pa.
Little League International created the Little League Urban Initiative Volunteer of the Year Award in recognition of the vital volunteer service being performed by thousands of dedicated people in urban settings around the country. This award annually acknowledges an adult volunteer involved with a Little League program participating in the Urban Initiative. The recipient has provided a positive Little League experience for the children and adults within a local league’s metropolitan neighborhood or community.
“James Wright understands the role that Little League can play in building lasting bonds between the adults and children in a urban neighborhood,” Stephen D. Keener, President and Chief Executive Officer of Little League Baseball and Softball, said. “His selfless commitment on behalf of the children and volunteers in Yellow Jackets Little League, and throughout the Tampa area, can not be understated or overlooked. Such commitment for so many years has allowed neighboring communities to reap the benefits of his vision and leadership. For these reasons, Little League is honored to present Mr. Wright with this award.”
Mr. Paster, the president of the Little League Foundation Board of Trustees, is executive vice president of public relations and public affairs, at WPP Group, and was chairman of “A World of Opportunity - Little League Baseball Capital Campaign for the Future.” Mrs. Paster is director of the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C.
The Little League Urban Initiative has seen success in nearly 100 U.S. cities since it began in 2000. In the past year, Castle Hill Little League in Bronx, N.Y.; Rosemoor Little League in Chicago; and Peninsula Little League in Portland Ore, were among several leagues that received funding and assistance through the Little League Urban Initiative.
“Mr. Wright has been president of Yellow Jackets Little League for many years, and has more knowledge of baseball than most managers will have in a lifetime,” Danny Rodriguez, president of Northwest Little League in Tampa, said. “This man is a Little League Baseball icon in the Tampa area.”
“His heart, sweat and dedication belong to Yellow Jackets Little League,” he said. “Mr. Wright is a man who has earned the respect of his peers within District 6, and the Little League Urban Initiative, but most importantly, he has the respect of the players, parents, and community surrounding the Yellow Jackets complex.”
Yellow Jackets Little League participated in the third annual Little League Urban Initiative Jamboree held in Williamsport, June 2-4, 2006. Mr. Wright traveled with the team to that event.
Through the 2008 Little League season, the Little League Urban Initiative has stimulated the participation of 2,779 teams, which equates to approximately 43,000 players, and has participated in 21 field renovation/development projects.