Claire and Emanuel G. Rosenblatt High School student Blayse Freedman recently returned from a once-in-a-lifetime trip to South America where she took part in an exchange program called ‘Project Beisbol’. The trip was comprised of American youth baseball players who traveled to Colombia to help at-risk kids in South America learn to play the sport.
“This trip has had a great impact on how I feel about life, humanity and kindness,” Freedman said.
The program was sponsored by the U.S. State Department and run by the University of Montana with the goal of eliciting social change.
“The new friendships I have made I will cherish forever,” the baseball enthusiast explained of her travels. “Never would I imagine how incredible this trip could be.”
Freedman, who also plays on the DKJA JV baseball team was representing ‘Baseball For All’, which is a foundation that supports gender equality through girls playing baseball.
Some of the stops on her trip included the cities of Montería, Cartagena and the U.S. Embassy in Bogota. During her visits, she brought donated equipment to local teams, then coached and played with each of them.
“I created really special bonds with kids my age, older, and younger,” she remembered.” “I loved interacting with them and playing with them.”
Besides replenishing some of their new friends’ supply of equipment, Freedman and her American counterparts also tried to pass on some new-found skills to the Colombian baseball players. Afterwards, she and her teammates were rewarded for all their hard work.
“One thing that was really cool was that I was able to play baseball in a professional baseball stadium with local teams,” the DKJA sophomore said. “I was so glad that I’ve learned Spanish at school because it came in handy during this trip.”
Once she returned to South Florida, Freedman was able to put into perspective just how unique her experience was and what an impact her visits made on her fellow baseball players and friends in South America.
“For some of these kids, we were the first Americans they have ever met,” she explained. “I am going to continue working with Project Beisbol and collecting used equipment for kids in South America.”
This spring, Freedman, who plays first base, will begin her third season playing for DKJA.