Clements ’06 gives MLB experience to foster children
During a summer baseball game between the Colorado Rockies and the Arizona Diamondbacks, a foster child sat in the upper deck of Coors Field enjoying his first Major League Baseball game.
He and other children from Lutheran Family Services Rocky Mountains sat in the stadium’s upper deck with stunning views of the field below. He had on a DC hat and a black baseball glove. When Rockies pitcher German Marquez blasted a homer in the fifth inning, he was ready.
His huge smile in the photo afterward made Ron Clements ’06 happy. It was Clements who made the moment happen.
Not the home run, of course. But the ECU alumnus spent the spring and summer traveling the country in an RV and taking foster children to baseball games. Clements and his wife, Patti, have traveled to all 30 MLB stadiums this year while raising awareness of the needs of children in the foster system. They’ve logged 15,000 miles since leaving their home in Charlotte on March 12, driven through 38 states and two Canadian cities, and gotten 300 tickets for foster children and their families.
“It’s a bit of normalcy for these kids, getting them away from things that might be troubling them,” Clements said. “At least at a baseball game, they can just be a kid for three or four hours and enjoy things that other kids are getting to do with their families.”
The trip started as a vacation of sorts. Patti’s job is remote, and Ron had recently left a sports reporting job covering the NFL. They decided on baseball, and a friend suggested bringing kids to games. That friend was Celeste Dominguez, CEO of the Children’s Hope Alliance, a North Carolina-based child welfare agency. As they drove from stadium to stadium, they partnered with the teams and local foster care organizations to get children out to games. Many, like the boy who caught the home run ball at Coors Field, had never been to a professional sporting event before.
On any given day, nearly 438,000 children are in foster care in the United States, according to the group Children’s Rights — enough to fill a Major League stadium several times over.
“There are many foster organizations out there and a huge need for foster parents. Our whole mission was to raise awareness of kids in the foster system,” Clements said. “We want people to get involved, whether it’s fostering, adopting or donating.”
Clements graduated from ECU in 2009 with a degree in broadcast journalism. A Wisconsin native (and lifelong Brewers fan), Clements went to ECU after serving in the Marine Corps. Upon graduating, he started a career covering sports teams.
Of all the stadiums he visited, Clements said his favorite was PNC Park in Pittsburgh.
“It sits right on the river overlooking downtown. It’s very affordable and easy to get to. Pittsburgh fans love their teams, so it’s a great atmosphere to watch a game,” he said.
Find out more about Ron Clements’ stadium tour at HomeRunonWheels.com.