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By Georgia Grimond, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – This evening, Thursday February 4th, local baseball project Baseball Escolar will host a cocktail reception with US Consul General James Story at his official residence in Leblon. As well as a chance to look back on the project’s work, guests will be able to meet a number of former Major League Baseball player who will be in attendance.

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Pupils from Baseball Escolar meet former MBL players at last year’s fundraising event, photo courtesy of Baseball Escolar.

Hall of fame member and former World Series Champion Barry Larkin will support the school for the second year in a row, along with 2011 World Series Champion, Steve Finley. LaTroy Hawkins, who made the Playoffs in 2015, and Brazilian Paulo Orlando who plays for the Kansas City Royals are expected to attend too. From Rio, both the Dutch and Swiss consuls will be there, as well as directors and CEOs of large Brazilian and American companies.

“We will have the participation of three Champions of World Series from different decades,” says Baseball Escolar coach, Uilson Oliveira. “There will a presentation of the players, autograph sessions and also a brief verbal presentation about our project with some of our results.”

Oliveira started the baseball school in 2012. Having taught the game for many years at the American School in Rio, he launched the project to introduce kids in other communities to the sport and as a way of encouraging social transformation. Now sixty children play regularly and interest continues to grow.

In August 2015, Leonardo Monteiro was the first of the Baseball Escolar’s pupils to be chosen to attend Brazil’s foremost baseball academy Confederação Brasileira de Beisebol e Softbol/Yakult, in Ibiúna in São Paulo state.

“Leo is doing well there, he has evolved considerably technically over the time he has spent at the school. He will also be at the event this evening,” says Oliveira.

The school relies on support from individuals and companies to continue training, obtain equipment and expand into other neighborhoods. The cost of this evening’s dinner is R$200 per person, with the money covering the cost of event and going towards the project. If you would like to attend, please get in contact with Oliveira directly via baseballescolar@gmail.com.

For more information please check the event’s Facebook page.

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