Chicago: Baseball for Youth Development

The average age of a Chicago gang member is 16 years old (Crime in Chicago). In 2012 there were 22,877 juvenile arrests in the city of Chicago, with 6,133 of these crimes being felony charges (Chicago Youth Justice Data Project).

On Tuesday, July 2, 2013, Experience Baseball hosted a fun baseball fan experience for 41 baseball fans, educators, and community leaders in order to raise awareness and support the efforts of Lost Boyz Inc., a South Shore youth leadership program that uses sports to help at-risk youth.

Chicago, including the South Shore community has a ripe baseball history and some of the best fans around (even though its two MLB teams have collectively won one World Series in the past 100 years). Five miles north of the South Shore Community, lies U.S. Cellular Field, the grounds of the old Comiskey Park, and South Side Park — the home of the Negro League Chicago American Giants. Professional baseball is so close, yet there seems to be a discord between baseball and the people in the South Shore community, especially black youth.

There are a reported 59 gangs in the Chicago area, which contributed to 2,670 gang-related shootings and 535 homicides in 2012 (Crime in Chicago) On June 28, 2012 in Chicago, Heaven Sutton, a seven-year-old girl was shot outside of her family’s home while she was selling candy in her front yard (CBS News Chicago). Eighty percent of the murders and shootings in Chicago are gang related (USA Today). The number of gang related homicides is up 24.7% since 2011 (ABC News Chicago). The murder rate in Chicago is four times higher than in New York City and 2.5 times higher than in Los Angeles. It is stunning because Chicago’s population is three times smaller than NYC and two times smaller than Los Angeles, yet it has higher gang violence rates by far (ABC News Chicago).

In order to steer Chicago youth away from violence, gang activity, and to provide a sense of comradery, LaVonte Stewart founded Lost Boyz Inc. in 2008. Since then, Lost Boyz has given 129 Children in the South Shore community and 32 youth detained in the Illinois Youth Center a safe place to remain out of trouble and to be involved in baseball and youth leadership activities (

Experience Baseball works with LaVonté and Lost Boyz Inc.. We connect resources and fan support to fulfill our mission to use baseball to help improve urban neighborhoods home to baseball. Our intentions are to become a long-term partner and resource for LaVonté and Lost Boyz, to be ever inspired by Lost Boyz, and to incorporate love the of our game, America’s game, to bring health, education, and sustainability back into baseball’s historic communities.

Proceeds raised our July 2nd event directly benefit Lost Boyz, Inc. and help to provide Chicago youth with the leadership, fellowship, and athletics offered by baseball.

Baseball fans, youth development supporters, and community leaders can get involved with our efforts in Chicago by donating to Experience Baseball.

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