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A Multicultural Children's Baseball Team Updated: 2011-11-29 00:00:00 KST

The first baseball team in Korea for multicultural children has been created, and we visited the commemoration ceremony to get the details.

At the ceremony, a man steps up to the stage to give a speech.

It's Yang Jun-hyuk[양준혁], who in his 18 years as a pro baseball player set a record of 351 home runs!

[SOV]
[Interview : ] "With the help and interest of many supporters, the Mentorees Baseball Team has finally been created."

The Mentorees, created by the Yang Jun-hyuk Baseball Foundation, is made up of multicultural children and children from low-income families.

Many people showed up to offer their encouragement.

[Interview : Lee Yun-seok, Comedian] "Let's make our hearts and minds strong with the Mentorees Baseball Team!"

[Interview : Jeong Seon-mi, Parent] "I'm so happy that my son has the opportunity to participate in something like this."

[Interview : Han Hyeon-min, Member of Mentorees] "I'm really happy and excited. I can't wait to see what will happen. I want to know what position I'll be playing."



It's finally the first day of practice for the Mentorees!

[SOV]
[Interview : ] "I think we were lost for like thirty minutes."

Yang Jun-hyuk is the first to arrive, and the players arrive soon after at the field.

[Interview : Yang Jun-hyuk, Former baseball player] "I'm overwhelmed with joy that today is the day of the first Mentorees practice."

[Interview : Shin Dong-beom, Member of Mentorees] "The bus comes to pick me up at 11:30, but I went out to start waiting for it at 9:30 because I was so excited."

The players are first greeted with a warm meal!

Their first meal as part of the team is sure to be delicious.

Yang Jun-hyuk makes sure that the kids are eating well! He seems determined today!

[SOV]
[Interview : ] "If you don't finish it, it's ten laps around the field. Eat up."

What kind of training is awaiting the players today[Interview : Kim Jin-su, Member of Mentorees] "This is the jacket I'll be wearing. This is my glove. I feel great. I want to work harder because I have a new glove."

[SOV]
[Interview : ] "The shoes are hard to tie."

The players acquaint themselves with the unfamiliar gear.

[Interview : Kim Jin-su, Member of Mentorees] "My mother is Korean, and my father is Japanese."

[Interview : Kim Jin-su, Member of Mentorees] "I really love it!"

[Interview : Han Hyeon-min, Member of Mentorees] "My mother's from Korea."

[Interview : PD] "What about your father[Interview : Han Hyeon-min, Member of Mentorees] "He's from Nigeria."

The number of multicultural children in Korea has been rising, from 13,445 in 2007 to 30,040 in 2010.

The Mentorees grouped together multicultural children with Korean children to help them interact with each other.

[Interview : Kim Jae-woo, Team chief
Rainbow Youth Center] "When we create programs only for multicultural children, there are many cases where that actually causes more stress for the children. The Yang Jun-hyuk Baseball Team brings together Korean and multicultural children into one team, making it much more meaningful. I believe that it will be a good experience for the children's confidence that will help them plan their futures in Korea."

[SOV]
[Interview : ] "The most important thing in baseball is to respect the rules. If you break the rules, we can't play the game. There are twenty-nine of you here."

[Interview : Yang Jun-hyuk, Former baseball player] "There are so many multicultural children who live in Korea's countryside. They are all part of Korean society now, and we have to help them find their places in society."

The training finally begins, and the players are a bit bewildered.

[SOV]
[Interview : ] "Are you tired[Interview : ] "Yes."

[SOV]
[Interview : ] "I like your posture. Again!"

[SOV]
[Interview : ] "If you catch the ball like this, it's going to fall out."

[Interview : Park Chung-sik, Coach of Mentorees] "We want these kids to learn something through baseball, to learn to follow the rules. We also hope this will be a foundation for kids to be healthy in body and mind when they go out into society."

And the players are cheered on by none other than the managers!

[ENG]
[Interview : Inna Maslova, Manager of Mentorees] "I got married and have a very lovely Korean husband. And now we have a daughter, and she's 14 months old. So I was very happy to find out that there was a baseball team for such multicultural families established in Seoul, and it will be established all over Korea. I think this is a very good idea, it's a very good opportunity for our kids, and we were invited as managers to the baseball team, and we will do our best to make the practice for children enjoyable and fun."

The team members have grown closer together through their first practice.

[Interview : Yang Jun-hyuk, Former baseball player] "I was a baseball player who had a lot of support from his fans. I believe that it is my duty to give dreams and hope to today's children."

[Interview : Yang Jun-hyuk, Former baseball player] "I'm going to support the Mentorees until the very end, for thirty, fifty, or even a hundred years, until all of the Mentorees become important contributors to Korean society. Let's go, Mentorees!"

[SOV]
[Interview : ] "Go!"

[SOV]
[Interview : ] "Go!"

[SOV]
[Interview : ] "Go Mentorees!

[SOV]
[Interview : ] "Go!"

Multicultural children in Korea face different challenges and environments, but with opportunities like the Mentorees baseball team, those differences can be slowly eroded away.

[STUDIO]

When you're in the heat of the game, you forget all those difference you thought were so important.
It's just hard enough to get the ball to where it needs to go.
You're a fan of baseball.
I live and breathe baseball.
I must admit I am really picky when I choose my team but I realize it doesn't matter what people are like on the outside it's the character they exhibit when they play.
It's great to see the kids learn about this when they're young.
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