Posted at: 07/15/2014 9:38 PM
Updated at: 07/15/2014 10:57 PM
By: Travis Dill
The Boys and Girls Club of the Northland is a big winner after Monday's Home Run Derby at Target Field. The MLB All-Star event is donating $50,000 to the club so they can renovate a space for teens.
Yoenis Cespedes blasted dozens of home runs Monday night to win the derby for the second year in a row. Two lucky kids from the Boys and Girls Club of the Northland got to watch the display from the field.
“It was a dream come true for both of them. They really enjoyed it. They got to go to a press conference. They got to hang out and talk to these guys face to face. They were on the field talking to not jus their participant, but all of the other major league players,” Todd Johnson said.
Johnson is the executive director for the Boys and Girls Club of the Northland. He said the kids were paired with competitors along with a few from clubs in the Twin Cities.
Luckily, one from Duluth was paired with the champion, and that means the club will get $50,000 to fix up the recreation and study space at the Duluth facility.
“We're going to have a coffee shop area. We're going to have areas for them with comfortable seating that they can do homework, get tutoring, those types of things. We'll have an area for drama and theater,” Johnson said.
Club members like 17-year-old Jordan McMillian said the renovation will help draw more teens to the Boys and Girls Club.
“Right now we get like 20 teens a week, and I would like to see more kids engaged in this,” McMillian said.
He said the club and the leadership program there have made a big difference in his life.
“It's like a second home to me. It's a place I can come and have fun,” McMillian said. “It made me become more of a leader like to take my own footprints so that everyone can follow them.”
Thanks to Major League Baseball more kids in the Northland might just find their place at the Boys and Girls Club.
Johnson hopes the renovation will only take about three months once the funds arrive and contractors are consulted.
The Boys and Girls Club are not the only winners though. All the home runs helped raise over $400,000 that will be split among other charities.