ATLANTA -- When former professional baseball player C.J. Stewart needed to find somebody to help his initiative to help the inner-city youth of Atlanta to learn the game of baseball, he turned to a former pupil who has risen to become one of the most heralded prospects the game has recently seen.
Before the Braves and White Sox played an exhibition game at Turner Field on Friday night, Stewart announced that Jason Heyward will serve as the honorary ambassador and spokesperson for L.E.A.D., which bills itself as the first instructional play program for inner-city youth.
"I've been involved with C.J. a majority of my life," said Heyward, the Braves' 20-year-old phenom who will serve as their right fielder this year. "When you have an opportunity to come into what I'm coming into, I think whenever you have a chance to give back, you should."
Stewart, who began serving as Heyward's coach six years ago, also now has a partnership with the Jr. Braves for the L.E.A.D Middle School baseball development league that will begin play later this month. This will provide the youth a chance to participate in clinics led by Braves coaches and gain financial support from the Braves Foundation.
"We are focused on teaching young men important life lessons through baseball while exposing them to opportunities in professional sports, both on and off the field," Stewart said. "The Braves organization matches our commitment to positively impact Atlanta's inner-city youth."
Since L.E.A.D.'s inception in 2007, 100 percent of the ambassadors have gone to college. To learn more about this nonprofit organization, visit www.lead2legacy.org.