What We Do

The programs of The Alchemy Project unlock the inner-voices of disadvantaged and at-risk youth through the transformative process of writing. Through a variety of innovative writing programs, these children find self-esteem and academic confidence. The writing programs reinforce and deepen the principals of discipline, respect and integrity. They open windows for students to see their full potential. They cement their desire to finish high school and obtain a higher education. The programs show how each student can deeply impact their communities through their own academic success and personal growth.

The Baseball Diaries

Through The Baseball Diaries, at-risk youth play baseball (the hook) while participating in a writing program. This program does not duplicate the standardized English classes found in our sub-standard public schools. Rather, the program teaches children how to look within and find their inner voice. As this skill is cultivated and developed, the positive reinforcement builds and ultimately cements the childís desire to stay in school.

Baseball is the programís hook for several reasons: first, very few children, especially at-risk children living in the neglected communities that we are targeting, would sign up for a voluntary writing program; second, for those of us who know and love the game, we know that, as taught so well by the San Francisco Giants Community Fund Jr. Giants Program, baseball is not just a sport. It is an opportunity to learn key values needed for positive development in our society, including respect for others, patience, the value of practice, the importance of teamwork and integrity. Finally, writing is a solitary exercise. Being a part of a team gives the kids a real sense of community, a community where they belong, and provides a viable alternative to the violent criminal street gangs plaguing their neighborhood.

Simply put, the combination of baseball and writing allows us to reach at-risk youth that would be otherwise left behind.

Working in Hunters Point for more than six years, we have seen firsthand how a childís personal growth and academic success can deeply impact her own family and her community. It is this organic transformation that The Baseball Diaries seeks to bring about.

The program targets areas of the City where youth gang membership and violence, as well as school drop-out rates, are the highest. We will begin in Bayview/Hunters Point. Natural partners of the program are the Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco, the San Francisco Giants Community Fund, and the SF Housing Authority, with coaching support from the San Francisco Police Department.

Photos from The Baseball Diaries