The Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation today announced a major partnership with Buckner International designed to strengthen the lives of area youth and their families who utilize the Texas Rangers MLB Youth Academy at Mercy Street Sports Complex presented by Toyota in West Dallas.

The announcement was made by Rangers and Buckner International officials in an event on Wednesday at the Youth Academy. In addition, Rangers pitcher Cole Hamels participated in the official opening of four classrooms in the Youth Academy’s Globe Life Indoor Training Center. Supported by The Hamels Foundation, the classrooms will be utilized for a variety of educational programs.

Buckner International will operate a satellite Family Hope Center at the Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation Youth Academy. The goal is to provide services to children and families using the Youth Academy baseball facilities to strengthen families in the community. Buckner is currently working with the Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation and other partners to assess the community to determine which services are needed.

Buckner currently operates 26 Family Hope Centers in Texas and six other countries. These centers are community-based places of hope where families go to find strength and empowerment to reach their God given potential. Services typically range from a variety of community events designed to engage families, to parent education classes, job skills training, financial empowerment, family coaching, counseling and spiritual enrichment.

The Buckner Family Hope Center strengthens vulnerable families so that they become safe places for children to grow and thrive. In addition, the Rangers will be visiting Buckner Family Hope Centers during the team’s annual Winter Caravan. The club is scheduled to make an appearance at the Linda and Ken Hall Buckner Family Hope Center in Longview on Monday, Jan. 22.

“Buckner is grateful to the Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation for the opportunity to work together on behalf of children and families in West Dallas,” said Buckner International President/CEO Albert L. Reyes. “Our goal at Buckner is to protect children by strengthening families and this partnership gives us the perfect opportunity to fulfill that mission.

“Baseball is a great way to attract children and families. The Texas Rangers are to be commended for their foresight and for their sincere desire to have a positive impact on children beyond the playing field.”

“The Texas Rangers Foundation is proud to partner with Buckner International on this most worthwhile initiative,” said Rangers Vice President of Community Outreach and Foundation Executive Director Karin Morris. “The mission of the Texas Rangers MLB Youth Academy is to enhance the lives of youngsters in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex and North Texas both on and off the playing field. Buckner’s resources and reach will be a great asset to these efforts.”

The Rangers, Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation, Major League Baseball, the Major League Baseball Players Association and Dallas-based Mercy St. partnered to build the state-of-the-art facility, which provides free (or reduced cost) and year-round opportunities for North Texas youth, on the 17-acre site at the intersection of Hampton and Bickers.

The Texas Rangers MLB Youth Academy at Mercy Street Sports Complex presented by Toyota, which held its official ribbon-cutting in December after two years of construction, includes five fields (Oates Field presented by Papa John’s, the Clayton Kershaw Challenge Field, Josh “Hambone” Hamilton Field, Field of Dreams and the Mimi’s T-Ball Field) and the Globe Life Training Center, an indoor facility which houses Adrian Beltre Field, which is a major league size infield; the Ian Desmond training room; Origin Bank Conference Room, four classrooms supported by the Hamels Foundation; weight room facilities, Academy staff offices, and a concession stand.

The Texas Rangers MLB Youth Academy is available to children throughout North Texas, especially the more than 9,000 kids who live within the West Dallas neighborhood and youth from the greater Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex area. In addition to providing year-round baseball and softball instruction and play, including hosting tournaments, coaching clinics and skills camps, the Academy will provide youth with access to tutoring programs, college prep classes, college and career fairs, financial literacy and internship programs, courses teaching math through the use of baseball statistics, and MLB industry alternative career workshops.

Youth also have opportunities to be involved in drug resistance and gang-prevention programs and healthy lifestyle classes. Additionally, all Academy members and other community youth benefit from Academy facilities and programs through baseball vocational programming, such as umpiring seminars, athletic field management, scouting and player development, sports information training and athletic sports training. The Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation employs staff to oversee the Academy, and works with Mercy Street and their existing programming. The operations of the Academy are covered entirely by the Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation, which also will provide equipment, supplies, utilities and other operating costs.

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