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Letter to the Editor: Thanks for the lights

I have lived in South Philadelphia my whole life, and my children played sports at SEYAA growing up, at which time I became a volunteer. I spend a lot of time at the fields at 7th & Bigler helping to run t-ball, baseball, girls softball, basketball and flag football. SEYAA is an all-volunteer organization serving youth in the community for over 25 years. The 4-18 years old who play with us learn about athletics, but they also learn about the value of hard work and supporting their teammates. We are a family and a lot of times players grow up and then enroll their own kids in our programs because they had such a good experience. They even give back by becoming volunteer coaches.

Our baseball program alone reaches more than 800 kids every season. But we never had lights on our main major league baseball field where the older kids play. This caused games to end at darkness, less play and less practice time. Just over a year ago, I reached out to state Rep. Elizabeth Fiedler about a grant to light this main field.  She helped bring back a $68,751 state grant to install lights on the main baseball field. This has been a real game changer for us. We now can light our main baseball field (which never had lights), giving more playing time for our older divisions. This is a goal we have been trying to reach for over 20 years. Having a safe place to go, and trusted adults to support them, makes a big difference in the lives of a lot of the young people, and we see it as an important way to reduce violence.

I’m writing to say thank you to all the volunteers and families who make SEYAA so special, and to thank state Rep. Elizabeth Fiedler whose investment in the community is helping young people and their families in South Philly.

Joann McAfee, SEYAA administrator

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