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Brooklyn native leads effort to bring baseball to Ukrainian war victims

Jordan Baltimore remembers his smile. joy. enthusiasm. 

A group of displaced Ukrainian orphans could enjoy things as simple as learning a new game or forgetting their worries. 

Baltimore, a native of Brooklyn, said, "You can see how good you can be when you put in the effort to do what you love. 

Four days in late June. , Baltimore brought six New York City-based New York Empire Baseball League players and their parents to Warsaw, Poland to teach baseball and serve Ukrainian children. They donated clothes with the help of a GoFundMe account shared by parents in the city's baseball league, where they cooked meals and distributed clothes for orphans. Wilson Baseball and Pitch in for Baseball and Softball made similar donations. 

The plan was conceived in April to provide assistance to Ukrainian refugee children currently living in Poland. Katya Roman Trzaska, director of the Polish SOK Foundation, which provides a fund-raising event in New York City and Baltimore, and Jessica Seinfeld, parent of his league children, met the SOK Foundation's work and Baltimore wanted to add this group to his organization's list of giving groups. 

Jordan Baltimore, left, runs New York Empire Baseball
Natalia Osiatynska/SOK Foundation

Baltimore and Roman Toszaska agreed that there was more the team could do in addition to donating, which ended up being a multi-day trip. 

"The traumatized children will only start to trust you when they get used to you and you earn their trust," said Roman-Trzaska. "My purpose in inviting them here was to show the American people that there is real war and that refugees are everywhere and they need help. 

} “Sometimes I think it's just news. It used to be front page news, now it's page six news. I really wanted Jordan and his team, and their parents who came to see the refugees, to really know what that meant for their everyday lives. 

Jordan Baltimore instructs members of his New York Empire Baseball program.
Natalia Osiatynska/SOK Foundation

Baltimore, 47, former Wall Street entrepreneur who has been involved in youth baseball for 15 years. He founded the New York He Empire He Baseball, which currently has 52 teams and up to 2,500 players. Three years ago, the organization added a non-profit sharing empire aimed at enabling underprivileged children to experience the sport of baseball. 

At the American School of Warsaw, Baltimore and his team dismantled the sport for his 65 orphans. They started by running the bases, then went to fielding, catching, and finally hitting. By the end of the day, the children had received a complete tutorial on baseball. 

"Jordan brought in the right people. They gave it their all and the kids loved it," said Romain Trzasca. "He was able to basically build a team in hours." 

Jordan Baltimore instructs members of his New York Empire Baseball program.
Natalia Osiatynska/SOK Foundation

It was not difficult for Baltimore to find children in his program who wanted to go. Six of the eight people he asked jumped at the opportunity. Their parents also came with them. 

On the flight home, Baltimore was thrilled with the players' reactions. They asked him two questions: when are you coming back and what's next? Already, after realizing how positively the trip has impacted everyone involved, loose plans are underway to return. I started a pen pal program as a way to keep in touch with orphans. 

"All you had to do," said Baltimore, "was to show up." 

For more information on the SOK Foundation, visit: See