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People Taking Action: Local baseball league helps homeless teens

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Posted at 6:11 PM, Dec 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-14 18:11:57-05

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - The sounds of baseball have quieted now in December, but there's still been some activity with the Kempsville Pony Baseball league. The players and their families have been taking action for homeless kids in Virginia Beach and Norfolk.

John Shipp, the president of Kempsville Pony Baseball, explains why he partnered with the non-profit Heart of Christmas.

"[It's] just it's mission. I mean, one of the things you hear about is, like, Toys For Tots, and that's for kids — the younger kids up to like 12 years old. These kids are kinda forgotten about," he said.

Diana Barrett is making sure that doesn't happen. She's the founder of Heart of Christmas.

"So, the mission was started eight years ago to target these certain kids - these middle, high school students - to say, 'Hey, you're not forgotten... we love you!'" Diana told us.

A variety of items were collected: Toiletries, hoodies and gift cards for teens who likely don't fit the stereotype people might have of homelessness, made worse in part due to the pandemic, says Barrett.

"Correct. There is a certain stereotype - there are a lot of families struggling, especially right now during the COVID situation, who are living in cars; who are living in shelters; who don't know where they're going to sleep."

What does the president of the league hope the kids will take away from this kind of project?

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"Well, I hope that they will realize that giving is so much more rewarding than receiving."

On the subject of giving - News 3 presented the Kempsville Pony League with a People Taking Action award, along with a $300 Visa gift card from our community partner, Southern Bank, which Shipp is donating straight to the Heart of Christmas non-profit.

To nominate someone for a People Taking Action Award, click here.