Redbird Rookies Saigh Scholarship Offers College Access for Local Youth
Batter up! Redbird Rookies, a program sponsored by Cardinals Care, kicked off another season this year after having to adjust their programming to make sure they were able to safely engage their youth both on and off the field.
“With the pandemic we had to change our plans quite often and approached the season with a tiered approach of how we would re-engage our youth and teams,” said Amanda Small, Redbird Rookies Youth Baseball & Softball Commissioner. “We prepared for virtual events with keynote speakers as well as partnered with local artists who put on concerts for the youth, which I believe were received well.”
Started in 2004 by the St. Louis Cardinals’ philanthropic arm, Cardinals Care, the Redbird Rookies program is a free, noncompetitive, coed baseball/softball program for youth ages 5-13. Providing youth with uniforms and all of the necessary equipment to play the sport, the Redbird Rookies works to instill the values of teamwork, integrity, self-esteem, and leadership in the “classroom” of a baseball setting. With approximately 14 different sites in the St. Louis Metropolitan area and Illinois, the program has served more than 50,000 youth since inception.
Children are mentored by their coaches, league organizers, and volunteers who are trained in character-building techniques that are essential to growth. In addition, the program offers youth the opportunity to attend off-field activities developed to support children in the areas of health, education, cultural arts, mentorship, and scholarship.
With partnerships with various local nonprofits, Small says that the best part of the program is seeing how the kids’ lives are impacted.
“When I hear kids say, ‘that was my first time at the Sheldon or the Missouri History Museum,’ it really puts it all into perspective,” said Small. “I sit back and realize that some of the kids would not have had the opportunity to experience some of the great aspects of our community, and that’s really what it is all about.”
The Redbird Rookies Saigh Scholarship
Not only are youth given such great opportunities to play the sport, but they are also given the opportunity to apply for the Redbird Rookies Saigh Scholarship, a $10,000 scholarship that supports the postsecondary education of students who participated in the program. Redbird Rookies apply for consideration after completing seventh grade. The scholarship, a program of the St. Louis Community Foundation, recognizes the achievements of individuals who have demonstrated success in the classroom and as a team member by providing financial assistance toward the student’s continuing education.
The scholarship is named after Fred Saigh, owner of the St. Louis Cardinals from 1947 to 1953, in recognition of Saigh’s leadership and the Saigh Foundation’s generous support of Cardinals Care. The first scholarship was awarded in 2010 and since then, the Redbird Rookies Saigh Scholarship has awarded almost $900,000 in scholarships to students.
Click here to download the scholarship flyer for more information on how to apply.
Interested in learning more about the Redbird Rookies Program, click here.