Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation continues Badges for Baseball program in Jersey City

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Baseball great Cal Ripkin Jr. has launched a program to bring police and kids closer together. (WABC)

The Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation continued its mission of helping local communities through baseball on Thursday afternoon as they launched the fifth year of the Badges for Baseball program in Jersey City.

The mentorship program pairs police officers with local kids to learn and play baseball. The officers in the program then aim to mentor and coach these kids by teaching them lessons about teamwork, communication, and respect on and off the field.

"They trade off the baseball back into the community and the community then sees the police officers in a different light, one where they can work together and the police officers are really the key to this whole thing," said baseball Hall of Famer and foundation co-founder Cal Ripken Jr.

Ripken was on hand at St. Anthony's High School for the occasion along with Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop, St. Anthony's Hall of Fame basketball coach Bob Hurley, and United Water's Rich Henning, who donated $103,000 to the program on behalf of the utility company.

"It's more than just baseball," Hurley said. "It's providing people with parallels between what they're doing in baseball and what they're going to do with with the sport when you finally put the glove and the bat down."

The Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation in conjunction with Jersey City and United Water also donated nearly $30,000 of sports equipment to the St. Anthony's high school program.

"When someone steps forward and can provide some help, it's duly appreciated," Hurley said.

"It's oughly gratifying to see kids have choices, kids get the right direction, and kids succeed," said Ripken.

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