The Hayward Junior Giants program has been running for sixteen (16) summers and is provided by Hayward Police Department Youth and Family Service Bureau by Police Officers, School Resource Officers and Counselors, who volunteer their time in partnership with the San Francisco Giants Community Fund and the Hayward Area Recreation and Park District (HARD). In addition, to learning basic baseball skills, the Junior Giants program encourages all participants to focus on education, healthy eating, violence prevention and positive character development. Last summer 582 children Junior Giant participants played baseball at Weekes Park and received free breakfast and lunch through the “Let’s Do Lunch Hayward … and breakfast too ..” program. The San Francisco Giants Community Fund provides player uniforms, baseball equipment, and training for league players and volunteers, as well as prizes and tickets to select Giants games so youth can experience Major League Baseball. The Hayward league of the Junior Giants has been identified as one of the most successful Junior Giants programs.
The program is overseen by the city of Hayward’s Youth and Family Services Bureau, which is headed by Administrator Emily Young. “It’s about much more than just baseball,” Young said. “We have practices and games, but we also try and teach the kids about healthy eating choices, mental health, physical health and reading.” In addition to weekly one-hour skills drills, where players learn baseball techniques from coaches who are police officers and Hayward high school students, they also play in at least one game per week, according to Young.