Hundreds of adults and children gathered, on a stunningly bright day, in Sunnyside Park, to join in the magic of youth baseball and celebrate the beauty of African Ancestry. For the seventh year, the Port City Chapter of the Links, Incorporated, collaborated with South Central Sportz to bring a Health, Science, and Education Fair to its 11th Annual Baseball and Softball Opening Day Ceremonies. There were rock walls, human vegetables, live animals, doctors, baseballers, nurses, mommies, geography games, seed planting projects, daddies, brain twisters, and luminaries. Sunny, festive and informative best describe the celebration of youth sports, family enjoyment and the live informational on health, diet, exercise, science and numerous other educational initiatives, put on by the Port City Chapter of the Links, Incorporated.
In addition to the luminous children of baseball, and their families and friends, a fabulous cadre of political and corporate partners were on hand for the opening ceremonies, including: Congressman Al Green, State Representatives Garnet Coleman, Sylvester Turner and Borris Miles, City Councilmembers Jerry Davis and Wanda Adams, HISD School Board Member and Schlumberger’s Community Affairs Director Paula Harris, RBI Manager Mike Holmes, City Controller Ronald Green, Constable May Walker, District Director for Senator Rodney Ellis, Ashton Taylor, doctors Lisa Otey and Janice Beal, Vice President of Texas Southern University James Douglas, and corporate partners DeAndre Sam of A-Rocket Moving & Storage, and Karen Marshall of METRO, to name a few. These notables judged the ever-difficult Teams’ Banner Contest and visited with the young baseballers about the importance of education and positive, healthy lifestyles. “As a connecting link, I am proud to participate in a day of health and activity,” says State Representative Garnet Coleman. “The Port City Chapter of the Links, along with all other chapters, has a treasured mission and record of community service. The Health Fair is one of its many invaluable community and charitable activities throughout the year,” Representative Coleman continued. He and his wife, Link Angelique Coleman, have made many generous, in kind contributions to the chapter’s success, over the years.
In its celebrated tradition of honorable team naming, South Central Sportz’s baseball and softball teams are each named in honor of the famed Negro League teams; the young baseballers competed throughout the day. “For me, opening day of South Central Sportz is every bit as exciting as a Major League opening day,” says Houston City Controller Ronald Green, who along with his wife, Links member and Judge, Hilary Green, spent the day on the field; he holding up the banner and banter for his son’s team and she whipping up hot dogs. While young sports enthusiasts were active on the baseball field, families and friends enjoyed a variety of free, fun activities and exciting booths. The free fun, for all ages, included Hands-on Science Experiments, the Schlumberger “I Want to Be an Engineer Mobile Museum,” M.D. Anderson “Too Kool to Smoke” Puppet Show and Read-Along Storytelling, the Texans YMCA Children’s Fitness demonstrations, and the appearance of HISD Food Services Nutrition Mascot “Ace the Fox.” Additionally, all guests at the Health, Science and Education Fair were treated to face painting, arts and crafts projects, health screenings, voter registration opportunities, youth-related organizations, schools and many other creative subjects and hands-on activities. Participants included NASA, Cleartone Hearing, Armand Bayou Nature Exhibit, United Way, the Houston Fire Department and many more. Giveaways included several “bicycles for health,” donated by Constable May Walker, healthy cookbooks from St. Luke’s Hospital, gift certificates of $25, $50 and $100, redeemable at local favorites — and many other delights, throughout the day. All designed to share information and materials promoting healthy eating habits and an active lifestyle, as well as interest in science careers and education.
The Links, Incorporated founded in 1946, is one of the oldest and largest volunteer service organizations of women committed to enriching, sustaining and ensuring the culture and economic survival of African Americans and other persons of African ancestry. The Port City Chapter is one of 273 chapters of The Links, Incorporated, throughout the United States, Germany, South Africa, and the Bahamas, promoting active and impactful community service. The chapter’s President is Irene Oakley-Johnson and its Event Chair is Donna Blackshear-Reynolds. Learn more about the chapter at http://portcitylinks.com. South Central Sportz is a community-based organization, founded by Cravon Rogers, that brings America’s most storied and celebrated sport – and all of it character and physicality building traits – to youth in the Greater Houston area with organized youth baseball activities; visit http://scsportz.com/ to learn more.