KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Three girls at J.C. Harmon High School in KCK are leaving behind a legacy. They’ve dedicated a year-and-a-half to overhauling the school’s baseball field.
“It was really muddy. It was very, very hilly,” senior Cinthya Sandoval said. “There were holes everywhere on the ground, so when we first came up here I almost fell.”
“It was upsetting because you couldn’t play well,” senior Ana Sandoval said. “You would be tripping constantly. It was just a total mess, honestly.”
“I thought it was a mess,” senior Jessica Morales said. “I didn’t like seeing all the rocks that they had to go through. It was a challenge.”
They are part of 20/20 Leadership, a nonprofit aimed at helping teens become leaders and building up their communities.
The girls took a poll with everyone at J.C. Harmon High School to see what they believed needed the most help on campus, and students all agreed the baseball field needed a lot of love.
The girls got the message and went to work.
“They stepped up to do what nobody would really do,” baseball team captain Michael Jacobo said. “Nobody really thought of us. Nobody would really want to fix the field until they came along, so I’m pretty sure they’re the reason the field got fixed.”
The girls got some help from the baseball team to pick up rocks, paint and build new dugouts.
Through $10,000 of funding from 20/20 Leadership, the Kauffman Foundation and the Kansas City Royals they were able to make the field as nice as most other schools.
“They came out, and they were picking up rocks and shoveling dirt, sanding and painting bleachers,” head baseball coach Steve May said. “They did a ton of work and a lot of legwork, calling people and getting prices. They are the ones that have done the most.”
“I sometimes wanted to give up myself, but having them to push me through it, and to not give up, seeing them constantly putting in work — I couldn’t just leave them behind,” Morales said.
They also put in a fence around the outside of the field, and now players actually know when they hit a home run. May said it gives the players a newfound confidence in their game and helps them lean in to their game.
“Ever since they brought the fence in, we’ve had a few players be able to hit a home run, so now we know that we can hit one,” Jacobo said.
“We’re actually really proud of ourselves for actually committing to it and being able to see it all the way through,” Cinthya Sandoval said.
“I’m proud of us because we stood together,” Ana Sandoval said. “A lot of people dropped out of 20/20 Leadership because of this, and we stood together, and we made this happen.”
The school is having a grand opening of the field on April 30 to celebrate the work that players and families will get to enjoy for years to come.