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Carlos Williams threw out the first pitch at the St. Louis Cardinals’ game on April 20. Carlos had been selected through Catholic Charities of St. Louis’ Go to Bat for Kids campaign.
Carlos Williams threw out the first pitch at the St. Louis Cardinals’ game on April 20. Carlos had been selected through Catholic Charities of St. Louis’ Go to Bat for Kids campaign.
Photo Credit: Photo by Ben and Becca Lee via Catholic Charities

Go To Bat for Kids provides unforgettable memories for kids

Catholic Charities campaign provides experience at baseball game for kids in need

With three curved fingers hooked on top, and a thumb positioned underneath, Carlos Williams demonstrated how he held the baseball for his first-ever major-league pitch.

The 7-year-old threw the first pitch at the St. Louis Cardinals game April 20 as part of Catholic Charities of St. Louis’ Go to Bat for Kids campaign.

Later, Carlos showed off his newly prized possession, the ball signed by Cardinals pitcher Matt Bowman.

“That’s how he told me to throw it,” Carlos said of his expert advice. “And I was the only one that got to throw that ball.”

Catholic Charities’ annual Go to Bat for Kids campaign brings the joy of attending a St. Louis Cardinals baseball game to children who otherwise would not have the opportunity to attend. People are invited to sponsor a ticket for one or more children, with tickets distributed via Catholic Charities agencies that assist children in need.

The campaign has expanded this year, and Catholic Charities will distribute 3,000 tickets over six games. The next game is scheduled Friday, May 18, against the Philadelphia Phillies. More than 31,000 children have attended a game since the campaign started in 2001.

Carlos and his 9-year-old brother, Sterling, were part of the foster care program at Good Shepherd Children and Family Services, a Catholic Charities agency. Three years ago, Bernadette Williams brought the boys into her home temporarily, with a goal of finding a more permanent solution, which is often with a family member.

But as Williams explained, God had other plans. In December, her adoption of the boys was finalized. “The plan was to continue to do fostering,” the 55-year-old said with a laugh. “It had to be (God), because it sure wasn’t me.”

Williams’ family includes two grown children and two grandchildren. Carlos and Sterling fit right in with the crew. “They all just clicked,” she said.

Williams works for MCCB Transitions Inc., an agency that provides housing and direct care for people with developmental disabilities. Influenced by that work, Williams said she wanted to branch out and do something more to contribute to the community. She became licensed as a foster parent, and eventually was introduced to Carlos and Sterling through Good Shepherd.

“It’s a good challenge,” she said. “I stay busy. I stay cookin’. Now they’re doing football and I’m working nights. The Lord made the way and brought it all together.”

She offered encouraging words for anyone who might have a calling to become a foster parent. “It’s a blessing in disguise,” she said.

St. Paul’s Epistle to the Corinthians describes God’s love for a cheerful giver. Williams believes that passage is more than just about giving money.

“It could be your time, it could be taking care of someone, or doing something for someone,” she said. “It’s all about, I need you, you need me. We’re all part of God’s family.”

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