DRSEA Leadership News
Citigroup executive Samuel A. Brooks was recently named Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Dominican Republic Sports & Education Academy (DRSEA).
Brooks, a three-year member of the trustee board, said of his selection, “I believe the DRSEA is moving in the right direction so I am going to focus on developing and executing, with the Board of Trustees and the Advisory Board of the DRSEA, a strategic plan that will further highlight the purpose, strategic goals and performance expectations of the DRSEA over the next 12 to 18 months in an effort to maximize our visibility and credibility. This strategic marketing plan goes hand in hand with raising funds for the DRSEA to ensure we succeed in making a difference in the Dominican Republic.”
Brooks is an AVP at Citigroup Global Markets Inc. Prior to joining Citi, he was the regional director for Non Public Educational Services Inc. (NESI), an organization providing after school tutoring to New York City public school students in the tri‐state area. Previously, Brooks was the director of student enrollment for the BELL Foundation whose mission is to increase the academic achievements, self‐esteem, and life opportunities of children living in low‐income, urban communities.
Prior to joining BELL, he was a parent coordinator for the New York City Department of Education. As a result of his strong ties to the community, Brooks co‐founded the South Bronx‐based non‐profit International Education Resource Center Education Foundation (IERCEF) to provide study abroad opportunities for secondary and post‐secondary minority students, giving them a competitive edge in the post‐grad job market. Before his transition into education, he worked for several years at a market research firm, where he analyzed and summarized corporate finance and M&A transactions for a global financial information firm.
In another change, Harold Méndez, who chaired the Board of Trustees for a number of years, is now treasurer of the DRSEA.
Méndez said of Brooks’ selection to succeed him, “I am confident that Sam will lead the organization to new heights. He brings a wealth of experience to the position and beyond that he is passionate about the mission of the DRSEA, and that passion will translate into success. We could not have a better person at the helm.”
The DRSEA also made former Cincinnati Reds star César Geronimo Honorary Chairman of the Board of Trustees. My take on the move is that while the organization prides itself on being multi-ethnic, multi-national and multi-gender, we believe that because our mission is to make a difference in the Dominican Republic, the face of the organization has to be that of a Dominican, and no one represents the Dominican Republic better than César.
Recap of the Jazz Under the Stars Event, Santo Domingo, June 2014
Two 2014 DRSEA Fundraisers
In addition to our fourth annual Making A Difference In The Dominican Republic event in New York City on June 27 at the 809 Lounge, 112 Dyckman St., the DRSEA is also holding a fundraiser in the Dominican Republic – Jazz Under The Stars With The Legends Of Baseball, on June 6 at 7:30 p.m. at The Galleries en Las Terrazas del Mesón de la Cava, Avenida Mirador Sur No. 1, Santo Domingo.
As in previous years, we will honor an individual or organization that has demonstrated an outstanding and sustained commitment to the advancement of Dominicans and the Dominican Republic, particularly in the area of the advancement of education and other youth issues. This year’s recipient is Rafael Perez, head of Major League Baseball’s Dominican Republic office.
Previous award recipients include retired Major League Baseball executive Lou Melendez, and the Pittsburgh Pirates, the only MLB team with a mandatory comprehensive education program for its Dominican baseball prospects.
The Santo Domingo event is shaping up to be a memorable evening with music under the stars with the renowned group Eric Litman & the Wavelengths, at a remarkable site that is a natural acoustical marvel which has to be seen to be believed. Joining us will be some of the true legends in Dominican baseball. It is a night you should make plans to attend. Cigars will be smoked; rum will be sipped!
Dominican Republic Sports & Education Academy Opens Doors In San Pedro de Macoris
The Dominican Republic Sports & Education Academy welcomed its inaugural students on January 14, 2013 in the city that has produced many of the Dominican Republic’s most famous baseball stars.
“The dream has become reality,” said Harold Mendez, one of the co-founders of the DRSEA, whose mission is to provide options and alternatives to just playing baseball by preparing young Dominican boys to position themselves to qualify for baseball scholarships at U.S. colleges and universities. “We want to improve lives through the DRSEA experience, and what those lives can ultimately do to improve their country.”
The DRSEA has 15 young men in its initial class of student athletes. “This day is one we have been looking forward to for a long time,” said Charles S. Farrell, the other co-founder of the DRSEA. “We are starting on a small scale, but it is a scale from which we hope to expand rapidly over the next few years.”
Classes will be taught at The Palms School in San Pedro, and initially offer a concentration in English; baseball instruction is also provided. Allison Hale, director of the school and an Advisory Board member of the DRSEA, said the opportunity offered the first class of students will prove beneficial to them, regardless of success in baseball. “Education is something that will help them the rest of their lives,” she said.
Those educational benefits were underscored by Cesar Geronimo, a former Major League Baseball player with the Cincinnati Reds and a Dominican legend who serves on the Board of Trustees of the DRSEA. “Baseball is a great game,” he said, “and you should pursue it because it can be rewarding. But you should pursue education in the same way, because its rewards will continue to give.”
Baseball players who hail from San Pedro include Sammy Sosa, Alfonso Soriano, George Bell, Robinson Canó, Rico Carty, Joaquín Andújar, Mariano Duncan, Pedro Guerrero, and Rafael Ramírez, to name just a few.
About The DRSEA — Our Vision
The basic mission of the Dominican Republic Sports & Education Academy (DRSEA), a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit, is to provide young, gifted Dominican student athletes the opportunity to become well-rounded individuals. While providing student athletes with the opportunity to hone their natural athletic talents amongst some of the world’s best young athletes, the Academy will also prepare them to excel in life, outside the lines and off the playing fields.
The Academy will open its doors as a baseball specific training facility. However, it will be more than a Dominican baseball academy. Through a rigorous educational and athletic component, student athletes will be given the tools to qualify for sports scholarships at U.S. colleges and universities.
The Academy’s growth will also be based on becoming an overall Sports & Education training facility for all athletes in various sports including basketball, tennis, and swimming, to name a few. The Dominican Sports and Education Academy will instill a strong work ethic, passion for the pursuit of excellence and a desire to serve as role models to our youth.
Ultimately, if they can have a career in professional sports such as major league baseball, great, but playing sports is a short career even in the best of circumstances. Education is something that will last them a lifetime and help them make an impact on the world around them. Read more about the Academy’s vision.
Charles Farrell Farrell Speaks at Champlain College in Canada
Charles Farrell had the opportunity to speak at Champlain College on issues facing the Dominican Republic including the baseball has played. He also spoke on what the Dominican Republic Sports & Education Academy (DRSEA) has been doing to help.
Charles’ lecture is captured a series of four videos that can be viewed on our Video page here.
DRSEA Honors Lou Melendez for 29 Years of Services in International Baseball for MLB
The Dominican Republic Sports & Education Academy has always been about making a difference in the Dominican Republic, so it was only fitting that the DRSEA honored a major game changer at its recent second annual “Making A Difference In The Dominican Republic” event in New York City.
Lou Melendez, who has held the position of Senior Advisor to the International Baseball Operations Department in the Office of the Commissioner for Major League Baseball since January, is planning on retiring at the end of the year after 29 years with MLB. The DRSEA paid tribute to him at the 809 Lounge, a landmark in the Dominican community; the event was co-hosted by the Juan Pablo Duarte Foundation and the New York Dominican Officers Organization. Chivas Regal was the official sponsor.
Prior to assuming his current role, Melendez was Vice President of International Operations, responsible for oversight of Major League Baseball’s satellite office in the Dominican Republic that he established in December of 2000.
MLB Dominican Republic’s Rafael Pérez A Hit At DRSEA Reading Program
Rafael Pérez, Director of Dominican Operations for Major League Baseball, has developed a reputation over the years for his keen eye and protective nature with regards to young baseball prospects in the Dominican Republic.
Pérez revealed another side of himself recently when he sat down to read aloud to a group of Dominican grade schoolers, quickly gaining their rapt attention as they hung on his every word.
The event was part of the Dominican Republic Sports & Education Academy’s reading program, a collaboration with Children International that sends people into Dominican communities to read to children.
DRSEA Education Program Launched
The Arias & Goodman Academy, one of the premiere baseball development programs in the Dominican Republic, has launched a pilot project developed by the Dominican Republic Sports & Education Academy to provide education for its prospects.
“Make no mistake about it,” said Gary Goodman in announcing the program. “We are in the business of preparing young Dominicans for careers in baseball; to help talented young men achieve their dreams. But there is also a social side that must be addressed. Reality is that most of these kids will not succeed in baseball and we owe it to them to make sure they are prepared for life after baseball.”
The DRSEA designed the educational program to give the Arias & Goodman Academy prospects the tools to succeed in life on and off the field.
In designing the program, the DRSEA wanted to provide options and alternatives to just playing baseball. While the DRSEA ultimately wants to prepare young Dominican boys to position themselves to qualify for baseball scholarships at U.S. colleges and universities, there are a multitude of others in camps like the Arias & Goodman Academy who need a solid and basic education. The DRSEA wants to improve lives through the DRSEA experience, and what those lives can ultimately do to improve their country.
The Arias & Goodman Academy education program is custom designed to meet the needs of its prospects whose educational levels vary from minimal to intermediate; many dropped out of school to pursue their dreams. Added to the challenge is that most of the prospects are only in the Arias & Goodman Academy, located in San Pedro de Macoris, for short periods of time. The DRSEA had to take all that into account and come up with a program that will not only vastly expand the education levels of all prospects, but also provide them with additional life skills that will make them more complete human beings, and ultimately better baseball players as well, which will make them even more valuable to the Arias & Goodman Academy.
The program is heavy on developing conversational English, as well as critical thinking and life skills, but also provides general education in math, history, geography, art, health and nutrition, financial planning and acculturation. This broad spectrum will allow the Arias & Goodman Academy prospects to develop skills in conceptualizing, analyzing, evaluating and applying information that they are exposed to; to make them better able to handle a multitude of decisions that will be coming their way as they mature.
Goodman said he believes his academy is the first of its kind to offer a comprehensive education program to prospects. “Investing in the education of our players is important to us,” he said. “We want to provide them with the skills to succeed beyond baseball. For while it is true that many of them will not make it all the way in baseball, we will try to give them the opportunity to develop skills that will help them throughout their lives.”
“ For many of these young men, they are experiencing their first structured, disciplined environment. It is our hope that in the relatively short period of time they spend with us, they will awaken to the larger world and the opportunities it holds for them.”
Lanzado El Programa Educativo De La DRSEA
La Academia Arias y Goodman, uno de los primeros programas para el desarrollo del béisbol en la República Dominicana, ha lanzado un programa piloto que tiene por objeto proporcionar estudios a sus jugadores prospectos.
“No se equivoquen,” dijo Gary Goodman al dar a conocer el programa. “Nuestra línea de negocio se dedica a preparar a los jóvenes dominicanos para las carreras beisboleras y para ayudar a jóvenes talentosos a realizar sus sueños. Pero hay un lado social también que se tiene que enfrentar. Es decir, la realidad es que la mayoría de estos jóvenes no tendrán éxito en el béisbol, por lo cual es nuestro deber asegurarles la preparación para la vida después del juego.”
Dominican Baseball Academy
As mentioned above, the DRSEA will initially focus on baseball. The academy will be able to take gifted baseball players and prepare them academically for the college classroom. The academic program will exceed the minimum requirements for college eligibility now required by the NCAA. Students will be encouraged to not only want to succeed in college but to excel.
DRSEA Blog – Article Snippets
Las Grandes Ligas Cuentan Con Los Prospectos Dominicanos (Big Leagues Banking on Dominican Prospects)
The accelerated signings of Dominican baseball prospects, coupled with a record signing bonus by the Texas Rangers, appears to be an indication that Major League Baseball teams have increasing faith that efforts to curb age and identity fraud in the Dominican Republic are working.
The $5 million signing bonus given 16-year-old Nomar Mazara eclipses the $4.25 million awarded Michael Ynoa by the Oakland A’s in 2008, and was one of several $1 million-plus bonuses awarded young Dominican players after the July 2 date when 16-year-olds are eligible to be signed. The Rangers also signed Ronald Guzman, a 16-year-old outfielder, for $3.45 million. Among other notable Dominican signings reported:
Las Grandes Ligas Cuentan Con Los Prospectos Dominicanos (En Espanol)
Las firmas aceleradas de contratos por prospectos peloteros dominicanos, las cuales incluyen un bono récord logrado por los Guardabosques de Texas, parece señalar que la fe creciente por parte de los equipos de las Grandes Ligas del Béisbol para frenar el fraude de edad e identidad en la República Dominicana es fehaciente y que tales esfuerzos salen bien.
El bono de cinco millones que se le dio a Nomar Mazara de 16 años de edad eclipsa los 4,25 millones otorgados a Michael Ynoa por los Atléticos de Oakland en 2008. Fue uno de varios bonos de más de 1 millón de dólares concedidos a un jugador dominicano después del 2 de julio, fecha desde la cual y en adelante los jóvenes de 16 años eran eligibles para firmar contratos. Los Guardabosques también firmaron a Ronald Guzmán, un jardinero de 16 años, por 3,45 millones. Entre otras firmas de jugadores dominicanos figuran:
Click here to read the full blog article . . .
Baseball’s Goals And Challenges In The Dominican Republic (Objetivos Y Desafíos Del Béisbol En La República Dominicana)
Major League Baseball and the Dominican Republic, the country where baseball spends $125 million a year to develop future stars, recently worked on forging a stronger relationship with a two-day symposium on the myriad of issues that affect the game.
The symposium, entitled “Goals and Challenges of MLB in the Dominican Republic,” was co- hosted by FUNGLODE (Fundación Global Democracia y Desarrollo), and focused on several problems that have plagued baseball’s operations on the island, including age and identity fraud, use of steroids, the actions of buscones, and the lack of education for players.
The forum lineup was impressive, with many of baseball’s top executives attending, including Robert Manfred, MLB’s executive vice president for Labor Relations and Human Resources, who said in a statement, “I am very pleased that representatives from many different facets of baseball in the Dominican Republic took part in this great event and produced a thorough, thoughtful dialogue. Major League Baseball is proud of the many contributions that the Dominican Republic has made to our game, and we are aiming to protect and enhance the vitality of baseball in the Dominican Republic in the years to come.” Click here to read the full blog article . . .
Objetivos Y Desafíos Del Béisbol En La República Dominicana (In Spanish)
La República Dominicana, país en el que las Grandes Ligas de Béisbol gastan 125 millones de dólares por año para desarrollar estrellas futuras, se juntó con la entidad recientemente con el fin de forjar una relación más fuerte a través de un simposio de dos días que trataba el sinnúmero de problemas que afectan el deporte.
FUNGLODE (Fundación Global Democracia y Desarrollo) fue la sede para el simposio titulado “Objetivos y desafíos del béisbol en la República Dominicana,” el cual se centró en los problemas que se han visto plagar las operaciones peloteras en la isla, incluso el fraude de la edad y de la identidad, la utilización de esteroides, las acciones tomadas por buscones, y la falta de educación para los jugadores.
La alineación del foro fue impresionante como contaba con una asistencia destacada de ejecutivos principales del béisbol. Entre ellos figuraba Robert Manfred, el Vicepresidente Ejecutivo de MLB para las Relaciones Laborales y Recursos Humanos. Según Manfred, “Me alegra mucho que los representantes de tantos facetas distintos de béisbol en la República Dominicana hayan participado en este gran evento y hayan producido un diálogo serio y riguroso. Las Ligas Mayores se enorgullecen de las muchas contribuciones que la República Dominicana nos haya proporcionado el juego, y tenemos como objetivo proteger y enriquecer la vitalidad del béisbol en la República Dominicana en los próximos años.”
Click here to read the full blog article . . .