PLAINFIELD – Khiry Hughes, Andrew Perez, and Randall Wall are too old for all of the teams in the Queen City Baseball League, but the trio of teens found a way to stay involved with the league and the youth. All three teens serve as assistant coaches on different teams in the league and provide a “buffer” between the kids in the program and the older volunteers.
“Volunteering is a great thing and I enjoy it,” the 17-year-old Hughes said. “I’m here to support my community and the young kids. By volunteering, I get an opportunity to help the young kids showcase their talents as well as give them some incite from my experiences in my young life.”
Hughes recently graduated from Saint Peter’s Preparatory School in Jersey City, where he earned a football scholarship to Muhlenberg College in Pennsylvania.
Perez enjoys the sport and camaraderie with both the players and the volunteers.
“I really enjoy baseball and I enjoy being out here with the kids and Coach Davis,” Perez said. “Queen City has a family atmosphere that reaches far beyond the baseball field we’re all family off the field as well.”
The 18-year-old looks forward to the fall where he begins taking classes at DeVry University after graduating from the Central Jersey College Prep Charter School.
Wall, at 16 is the youngest of the group attends Saint Peter’s Preparatory School, and envisions a career in musical and sound engineering as his probable career path grasps at a young age the value of mentoring.
“I feel by volunteering I have an opportunity to make a positive impact in someone’s young life,” Wall added. “Even though I’m young myself, the people involved in Queen City Baseball League are so positive and we teach teamwork, being responsible for our actions, being friends, and looking out for each other. By playing baseball with Queen City, we’re teaching the young kids about baseball but also keeping the kids off the street.”
The trio stressed the positivity of the adults in the program and the bonus of learning more about handling situations that happen in their lives, as they volunteer for the younger kids.
“I’ve been taught how to be patient, how to deal with diverse personalities, [how] to talk to the kids about doing positive things in their lives by staying away from violence and gangs,” Hughes said. “Instead of using a bat to commit a violent act, use a bat to hit a home run for your team.”
Even with school on the horizon, all three young men plan on continuing the work they started by volunteering at the Queen City Baseball League.
“I plan on volunteering with Queen City for the remainder of my high school career and possibly beyond,” Wall said. “I really enjoy being a positive role model and being out there with the young kids.”