To Lead is to Serve
Two recent grads combine a love of baseball with a desire to give back
How much of a role does mission truly play in the lives of adolescent boys? Two young graduates demonstrate with humility that their ideas and initiative can make a difference in their community.
When Russell McCarthy and Trevor Ritchie, both 2015 graduates, began KidsGear for Baseball seven years ago, they did not anticipate just how far-reaching the organization would be. Co-director Trevor knew his friend Russell loved baseball, and proposed that he become involved with the grassroots charity that aims to help kids play baseball who otherwise would not be able to afford the basic equipment, including cleats, socks, pants, belts, shirts, hats, gloves, balls, bats, batting gloves and more.
Because of their commitment to the program for so many years, KidsGear is today a thriving non-profit charity associated with Major League Baseball’s Baseball Tomorrow Fund and the Boston Red Sox. “We had no idea that we would have so much fun and such a passion for it,” says Russell. “The help both of our parents gave us was awesome and the fact that we were able to expand and develop the charity so much has been a blessing.” The Red Sox allow the organization to attend three games each year, when they stand at the gate to collect money and gear. Additionally, every year they presents KidsGear with a $5,000 check for new equipment on the field before a game. Three years ago, they were strictly outfitting Boys and Girls Clubs with baseball gear and they began to search for more outlets. It was then that the boys reached out to local communities in need and came upon the Mission Hill baseball league and the Nativity School of Worcester.
Noticing Nativity’s old uniforms, which had been used since the school’s establishment, Russell proposed setting up a partnership to fund new uniforms for the young athletes. As of 2014, KidsGear is a multinational program. They sent their first supply of gear to the Dominican Republic, in partnership with the Lindos Sueños (Beautiful Dreams) program. Russell had the opportunity to go to the DR with a group of kids from around the country representing the Boston Red Sox, building two houses and participating in a baseball league. “I walked away with just pants and my jersey...everything else..cleats, hat, belt...was given to the kids.” Since both Trevor and Russell will be starting college
In the fall, at Northeastern and Catholic University, they are passing the reins of KidsGear on to their Pioneer brothers, Dawson Ritchie ’17 and Devin McCarthy ’18. A simple idea borne from the love of a game and the hope to share that love with others has created a lasting legacy of service and community.