The Arias & Goodman Academy, one of the premiere baseball development programs in the Dominican Republic, has launched a pilot project to provide an education for its prospects.

“Make no mistake about it,” said Gary Goodman in announcing the program. “We are in the business of preparing young Dominicans for careers in baseball, to help talented young men achieve their dreams. But there is also a social side that must be addressed. Reality is, most of these kids will not succeed in baseball, and we owe it to them to make sure they are prepared for life after baseball.”

The educational program was designed by the Dominican Republic Sports and Education Academy (DRSEA), whose mission it is to educate young athletes in the Dominican Republic, help develop their baseball skills and give them the tools to success in life on and off the field.

DRSEA co-founder Charles S. Farrell said, “We are trying to provide options and alternatives to just playing baseball. We ultimately want to prepare young Dominican boys to position themselves to qualify for baseball scholarships at U.S. colleges and universities, but there are a multitude of others in camps like the Arias & Goodman Academy who need a solid and basic education. We want to improve lives through the DRSEA experience and what those lives can ultimately do to improve their country.”

Farrell said the Arias & Goodman Academy education program is custom designed to meet the needs of its prospects whose educational levels vary from minimal to intermediate-many dropped out of school to pursue their dreams. Added to that challenge is that most of the prospects are only in the Arias & Goodman Academy for short periods of time.

“We had to take all that into account,” Farrell said, “and come up with a program we believe will not only vastly expand the education levels of all prospects, but also provide them with additional life skills that will make them more complete human beings.”

The program is heavy on developing conversational English, as well as critical thinking and life skills, Farrell said, but it also provides a general education in math, history, geography, art, health, nutrition, financial planning and acculturation.

Goodman said he believes his academy is the first of its kind to offer a comprehensive education program to prospects. “Investing in the education of our players is important to us,” he said. “We want to provide them with the skills to succeed beyond baseball. For while it is true that many of them will not make it all the way in baseball, we will try to give them the opportunity to develop skills that will help them throughout their lives.”

“For many of these young men, they are experiencing their first structured, disciplined environment. It is our hope that in the relatively short period of time they spend with us, they will awaken to the larger world and the opportunities it holds for them.”