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BASEBALL: Twins help out St. Mathias park

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sports Brainerd, 56401
Brainerd MN 506 James St. / PO Box 974 56401

Ask for it and they will come through.

Jim Guida did the asking. The Minnesota Twins came through.

Guida, a resident and park member in St. Mathias, learned from a friend about the Twins Fields for Kids program that provides financial support to improve youth baseball or softball facilities in the Upper Midwest and Southwest Florida near the Twins spring training facility. The program makes matching grants to non-profit organizations and local governmental units that operate baseball or softball programs.

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Guida approached the St. Mathias Park Board and asked for their blessing to apply for a grant.

“I looked online and they still had 2011 grants available,” said Guida. “The grant outlines were for $1,000 to $10,000 in matching money and basically are for renovations or construction of baseball and softball fields used by youths. It could be to upgrade sod, put in fencing or to remodel dugouts. At the St. Mathias ball fields the fencing was in rough shape.

“I went to the park board and presented the opportunity. I drew up the proposal and did it in a way that utilized past fencing bids to repair, tighten and install posts and put in a gate.”

The Twins Community Fund, which oversees the Fields for Kids program, awarded the St. Mathias Park Board with a check for $8,440. The money will go toward fence repair for the baseball and softball fields and other projects Guida put into the proposal.

Instead of having to match dollar for dollar, Guida also wrote the proposal for volunteer labor hours.

“When you draw it out you can put in a cost on in-kind labor or volunteer hours,” Guida said. “You can do labor or other donations. I wrote it out to include volunteerism and the donation of man hours. The Twins were 100 percent on board with that idea. They were happy to see the community on board with that. It is a real shot in the arm for us.”

According to the Twins website, the Twins Community Fund is a 501c3 nonprofit organization created in 1991. The mission of the fund is to enrich local and regional communities by providing resources for the healthy development of children and families through an association with baseball, softball and the Minnesota Twins.

The Twins Community Fund and its grant programs are supported in part by Target, US Bank, Best Buy, Treasure Island and Delta.

Since its inception, the program has granted more than $2 million to improve nearly 450 Upper Midwest and Southwest Florida ball fields.

“The fields are used by a lot of different people,” said Guida. “The St. Mathias Devils use it to play their Victory League games.

“The park is very open and great for families. It has horseshoe pits, two buildings that can be rented by park members. Every year the park board puts on a fundraiser and it brings families together. This grant is very encouraging.”

Questions about the Twins Fields for Kids program should be directed to Stephanie Johnson (612) 612-659-3505 or stephaniejohnson@twinsbaseball.com.

JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at jeremy.millsop@brainerddispatch.com or 855-5856.

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