The City Divas’ softball teams are hitting hard, empowering youth to achieve success.
The fast-pitch girls softball teams, known amongst themselves as the ‘City Diva’s, players with the attitude to match,’ formed in 1997 under the leadership of Coach Derek Brown.
“I had been approached by 5 girls, and I myself had just come home from playing in the minor leagues, and they asked me to teach them how to play,” recalls Brown. “I told them if they brought back 10 girls serious about playing I would teach them, and the rest is history.”
Since it’s founding, the program encourages girls to maintain a B average and remain in good standing with their parents and school, while building their confidence and securing a successful future.
“I think what we do is promote growth and development of female athletes which is not often addressed,” said the Bronx native, Brown. “We are helping to curb obesity, encouraging a healthy lifestyle, raising self esteem, making them realizing the importance of academic excellence and motivating them to go to college and to be better at the sport.”
Now in it’s 12th year, the program has grown to include approximately 70 participants in four teams; a 14 & under team, two 16 & under, and an 18 & under.
The teams participate in the Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) League and the Babe Ruth League, having successful records in both.
“My daughter joined Coach Brown’s team about three years ago and I think she’s had exceptional improvement, not just in ball playing but in herself through the mentoring that goes on with the teams,” said Nancy Chin, parent volunteer. “She’s been able to increase her confidence and is not as shy or reserved about trying something new or learning a new technique. She can really be herself with the team.”
Funding for the program come from a small participation fee, donations from the volunteer coaches and parents that administer the league, and fundraising efforts.
By next year Brown would like to acquire much needed sponsorship and expand the program into it’s own league, allowing them to welcome the dozens of girls that had to be turned away in the past.
The season runs from February through September, practicing behind Kip’s Bay Boys and Girls Club, located on Randall Avenue and White Plains Road, and on the Kingsbridge Little League Field, at 233rd Street and Bailey Avenue.