Heard on the Hill

Another Congressional Baseball Event for D.C. Kids

Horton’s Kids raises funds for children in at-risk neighborhood

The batting cages are open for Home Runs for Horton’s Kids. (Courtesy Horton’s Kids)

Members of Congress are coming together at Nationals Park again, this time to support the city they work in.

The ninth annual Home Runs for Horton’s Kids to raise money for the nonprofit founded by a onetime Capitol Hill staffer is Wednesday. Horton’s Kids helps children in grades K-12 living in Washington’s most at-risk neighborhoods through educational and other social programs.

In 1989, Karin Walser, then a communications director for Massachusetts Rep. Joe Moakley, stopped at a gas station in D.C. and several children who lived in a nearby homeless shelter asked if she would pay them to pump her gas. Walser instead offered to take them to the zoo the next weekend, and for months following, she recruited friends to join her in taking the children out on activities. Those efforts led to the founding of Horton’s Kids.

The organization is named as a tribute to the classic Dr. Seuss children’s book “Horton Hears a Who!”

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The annual event is in part made possible through support from five congressional co-chairs, who all use D.C. as their temporary home.

“Horton’s Kids’ impact is easy to see: from the more than 35,000 healthy meals served last year, to countless hours of tutoring, to a graduation rate that is twice the neighborhood average,” Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, a co-chairman, said in a statement. “Horton’s Kids prepares children to succeed in college, career, and life.”

Four House members serve as the other co-chairs, including House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy

“For nearly 30 years, Horton’s Kids has worked to drive positive change in the lives of hundreds of children,” the California Republican said in a statement. “Supporters of Horton’s Kids help provide services like tutoring and homework help, weekend field trips, counseling support, and clothes and food to children.”

McCarthy added, “This means more children achieving, more children graduating high school, and more children going to college and getting jobs.”

All proceeds from Wednesday’s event go to children in the neighborhood of Wellington Park in D.C.’s Ward 8.

“Horton’s Kids represents the power of community coming together to support our children and, in turn, our future,” New York Democratic Rep. Joseph Crowley, a co-chairman, said in a statement. Crowley played in Thursday’s Congressional Baseball Game.

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Attendees pay as much as $250 to enter the event, which includes a chance to bat from home plate in the stadium and play catch in the outfield or visit the bullpen. A Nationals fan favorite, the racing presidents, will also be there.

“Home Runs for Horton’s Kids is one of my favorite events in DC and I’m proud to be a co-chair,” Rep. Kevin Brady said in a statement. “When else can you bat from Nationals’ home plate and support the deserving children of D.C. at the same time?” added the Texas Republican, who also played in Thursday’s baseball game.

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The event is at 6 p.m., which coincides with the ninth annual Congressional Women’s Softball Game. Rep. Cheri Bustos plays on the members’ softball team but still serves as a co-chairwoman for Horton’s Kids.

“I share Horton’s Kids’ belief that circumstance should not dictate a child’s future,” the Illinois Democrat said in a statement. “Their programs like homework help, discussion groups and healthy meals make a real difference for D.C. youth.”

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