LADF CEO Nichol Whiteman and Dodgers outfielder Jason Heyward poses with youth from Dodgers Dream Team (Amanda Scurlock/L.A. Sentinel)

Throughout the 2023 season, the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation (LADF) hosted Skills Training Clinics for youth to learn the fundamentals of baseball.

During one of their clinics that took place at Jesse Owens Park, Dodgers outfielder and Nike RBI ambassador Jason Heyward visited the Dodgers Dream Team participants to give training and words of encouragement.

“I partnered with the Dodgers foundation [to] come out here and give back to kids, hang out with them, let them ask questions,” Heyward said. “Talk to them a little bit and also see them be out here on a Saturday, having fun playing baseball.”

Heyward told the youth how baseball can unify people of various backgrounds and experiences. He also explained how he started wearing the no. 22 jersey early in his career to honor his late high school teammate.

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Heyward talks to youth as they prepare to do fielding drills (Amanda Scurlock/L.A. Sentinel)

Heyward informed the youth that they will one day be role models and be able to give back to younger athletes.

“We’re thrilled that Jason Heyward is joining our Dodgers Dream Team participants from Inglewood, from Hawthorne, from the MLB Youth Academy and from Hill, really to participate in a players skills clinic,” said LADF CEO Nichol Whiteman. “We know back in Chicago, he has the Jason Heyward baseball Academy and he himself is committed to connecting sports to education and health and  that’s what we do in Dodgers Dream Team.”

The Youth were divided into groups and engaged in batting, fielding, and pitching drills. Heyward gave them pointers and answered their questions.

“I think it’s important to understand that it takes a lot of things to be successful in life,” Heyward said. “Having teammates, having friendship, holding on to family, hold on to people that support you no matter what walk of life that is and not taking that for granted.”

A Dream Team participant works on his batting skills (Amanda Scurlock/L.A. Sentinel)

Throughout 2023, LADF has been celebrating 10 Years Reimagined; it also marks the 10th season of Dodgers RBI/Dodgers Dream Team.

“We’re really excited that we’ve seen 65,000 Dodgers Dream Team participants come through this program and this year 12,000 participants come through this program,” Whiteman said. “We know that [Heyward] wants to be here … the words that he shared with our Dream Team participants were phenomenal.”

During the 2023 season, Heyward had 334 at-bats and made 90 hits, 56 runs, 15 homeruns and 40 RBI.