Pequeñas Ligas: A Youth and Family Center Without Walls
|The New Haven Volleyball Academy opens doors for New Haven girls. Photo courtesy of Pequeñas Ligas Hispanas de New Haven.
New Haven boasts more than 90 tennis courts, ten swimming pools, three outdoor competition tracks, miles of trails, an extensive park system, a beach, gymnasiums, auditoriums, multiple professional stages and more. For more than two decades, Pequeñas Ligas Hispanas de New Haven has made the city’s extensive athletic and cultural resources accessible to Latino children and youth from low-income families.
Pequeñas Ligas was started in 1992 when a group of parents and concerned neighbors in Fair Haven saw a need to organize and provide constructive activities for their kids. Recognizing the abundant facilities already existing in the city, the youth and family development organization developed the concept of a “youth and family center without walls.”
The organization’s athletic and artistic programs serve students of all grade levels from schools throughout the city. The programs give Latino kids the support and skills to succeed on and off the playing court, all while in a nurturing, familial environment. The program connects promising students to college athletic programs and supports families throughout the college process.
Pequeñas Ligas has implemented programs in 20 sports. Among its most successful is the New Haven Volleyball Academy, which is addressing the vast underrepresentation of Hispanic women in intercollegiate athletics. The Girls Travel Program participates in USA Volleyball and AAU club competitions, which is where many college coaches recruit future players. By making club participation accessible, Pequeñas Ligas is helping girl student athletes from New Haven attract notice from college programs.
Pequeñas Ligas has received support from The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven for more than two decades as well as the Community Fund for Women & Girls, a component fund of The Community Foundation.
Did you know?
Latina women are only 5.2% of all NCAA female student-athletes in Divisions I, II and III. (Source: The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport's "The 2018 College Sport Racial and Gender Report Card.")
This story is part of the Inspiration Monday story series produced by The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven.