Not everything is about fun and games, dosing hitters, or trying to convince some loser umpire that he needs a nap. Sometimes we need to find a way to get some free food and pretend that we are important. In 2007, Tony Berru was honored for his efforts over the years with the Players of Promise Bandidos summer teams. Some knucklehead in the community thought he should be singled out for his efforts in helping kids find spots to keep their butts in school, Says an embarrassed Tony, “The real honorees are the coaches and the kids that do the work. Not one of the kids is given anything … except the opportunity to work hard and get noticed for their efforts. I just get to hitchhike on the skills of Bret, Gonzo, Chuck, and all the other REAL experts that give their time in this program.”
Shown here in the picture is Bret Barberie, Tony Berru, and Rene Gonzales at the award banquet in 2007. “Bret and Gonzo are two of the most incredible men I know”, says Tony. “They have forgotten more about baseball and leadership skills than I could have ever been blessed to have. Frankly, this award stuff is pretty awkward for me to deal with. However, together we have made some very cool stuff happen over the past summers with these kids. We charge a fee to play, but we never turn down someone that cannot afford to pay and is willing to work hard. They pay by volunteering to help in baseball camps for younger kids, or by being available to help us when we need to help someone else. We get it out of them somehow. With the Players of Promise Bandidos, we are not just about baseball, we are about reality and ethical behavior. We make speakers available to talk to the boys prior to every double header, about what is necessary to be successful in life, after the glove is put in the bag for good. These speakers range from ex-major league players to current college coaches to even local religious leaders. While these sessions are not mandatory for participation, we usually see a 90% turnout whenever we have one.
Children of Promise started as a way to help fatherless boys find encouragement in an area that seemed to have no time for them. However, there are many people that invest in the kids we target. People like George Genovese (long time scout for the Giants and Dodgers), Local college coaches like Monte Brooks (Masters College), and the many team managers in the local leagues we participate in. There have been hundreds of parents and local businesses that like the idea that we give to the community our time, and support us by giving their help and support as well. We provide a tangible way to give, and opportunities for others to do so as well.