Last year, I decided that I wanted to do something that would make a difference in the lives of others.
With a love for baseball, which I have played since age 4, and a desire to help the country's veterans, I created a charity baseball tournament that youth baseball teams participated in from across the greater Long Island area. Last September, my family and I co-hosted the event with Oceanside Little League.
Now, I am thrilled to say that this year, the Second Annual Jeremy Feder All-Star Charity Baseball Tournament will be held in Oceanside from Sept. 15-17, with opening ceremonies on Sept. 15, at 6:30 pm, Wrights Field, 264 Mott St.
I really began to understand the struggles that some of our nation's injured veterans go through after I joined the patriot club at Oceanside Middle School last year, while I was in seventh grade. The club raises money and awareness for wounded soldiers. This meant a lot to me, and I felt I wanted to do more to help. Our nation's disabled veterans need assistance in many ways.
With so many veterans groups out there, I didn't know which organization would make the most sense to be the beneficiary of the tournament. For this, I turned to my dad for help. He was familiar with the military from his experience working with the U.S. Department of Defense as a national security specialist. Based on his recommendation and some research I did on my own, I decided that the tournament would benefit America's VetDogs, a Smithtown-based organization that provides free, trained service dogs for disabled veterans and first responders on Long Island and across America.
I also wanted to find a way to somehow get my school involved. I suggested to the faculty advisers with the patriot clubs at both OMS and Oceanside High School. They agreed, and gave me their full support.
Last's year's event was a wonderful success, and we hope this year's will be even better. We raised more than $5,000 for America's VetDogs. About 200 people from the community, including local elected officials, came on opening night last year.
Between 50-60 kids volunteered their time, selling t-shirts that the schools designed just for the event, as well as selling snacks, and raffles as well as handing out programs. Schools Superintendent Dr. Phyllis Harrington also attended the opening night ceremony last year.
This year we hope to have raise more money and have more teams involved. The children playing in the tournament will be age 11 and up and will come from teams on Long Island. And again, we will have some of the service dogs and their handlers at opening night to talk to the public about the important work these dogs do.
I am so excited about this event, and almost can't believe that this has grown into something so big. I guess this shows that a kid with an idea can get almost anything done, if you work hard and have people around you supporting and encouraging you.
For more information on how you can participate, check out the tournament's Facebook page.