- Army’s 3-D printed bombs will create ‘a whole new universe’ of deadly capabilities
- Hamas calls on Hezbollah to join in fight against Israel
- Senators to FIFA, others: Don’t reward Putin with the World Cup in 2018
- U.S. condemns Israeli shelling of shelter in Gaza
- Obamacare shoots premiums up by 88 percent in California
- Chicken pox outbreak puts illegal immigrant facility on lockdown
- Obama to Republicans: ‘Stop just hatin’ all the time’
- U.S. chemical sites vulnerable despite millions spent on security: Congress
- Driverless cars to hit the British streets by 2015
- GOP presses to scrap IRS commissioner position — but put in panel
Raised by a single mom, Denard Span pays tribute by helping others
Question of the Day
He remembers watching her collapse into a comfortable chair around 9 p.m. some nights and falling asleep in minutes. Or the Sunday evenings, after church, when Wilson would set Denard and his brother, Ray, up in one room and take a few minutes to relax alone in another.
Ten-plus-hour days at work, first as an insurance claims adjuster and then operating a day care center, could do that to a woman who was also busy raising two young boys.
“You do what you’ve got to do,” Wilson said this week, while the children at her day care in the Tampa area napped. “You just learn how to adapt. You learn to do what you have to do, given certain circumstances and situations.”
It was those moments that Span, the prize center fielder the Washington Nationals acquired from the Minnesota Twins in November, thought of most when he considered getting involved with a charity in Minnesota a few years ago.
He chose the Jeremiah Program, a nonprofit that helps prepare “determined single mothers to succeed in the workforce, readies their children to succeed in school, and reduces the generational dependence on public assistance,” according to its website. The program helps set up impoverished single mothers with opportunities to further themselves through education and job training, but also forces them to work toward their success.
“It just sounded perfect,” Span said. “I wanted to do something I could relate to.
“My situation maybe wasn’t as bad as theirs, but I saw my mom have to do a lot for myself and my brother.”
The way Span describes his childhood, it’s clear he views himself and his family as fortunate. His mother, who attended Federal City College (now the University of the District of Columbia), was educated, employed and had a good support system.
There was always a friend, or one of the boys’ teachers, or another single parent, who could help bring them to baseball or football or basketball practice when she couldn’t, and Wilson would return the favor by picking them up in the afternoon. Span said his father was around some, but “primarily we were with my mom 98.9 percent of the time.”
This spring, as Span has acclimated himself to a new team for the first time in his career, he has called Wilson daily to update her. She made the drive from Tampa to Viera last weekend to visit and said it seemed like his teammates “are really, really excited to have him there.” She cannot wait for Opening Day in Washington.
Span has spent most of his time and energy thus far on getting to know his new teammates and preparing for the season ahead. With Bryce Harper and Jayson Werth flanking him in the outfield, the process of learning to play together has been a primary focus this spring.
But Span doesn’t want too much time to go by before he finds a similar charity in the D.C. area.
Span worked with the Jeremiah Project by getting to know the children and their mothers, and he also made a financial contribution.
In 2010, then-teammate Orlando Hudson held a bowling tournament in the Minneapolis area, with all of the proceeds going to a charity of his choice. In 2011 and 2012, Span took over the tournament and donated the proceeds to the Jeremiah Project. The Twins twice gave him an award for his charitable endeavors, which also included work with the Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities program.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Amanda Comak covers the Washington Nationals and comes to The Washington Times from the Cape Cod Times and after stints with MLB.com and the Amsterdam (N.Y.) Recorder. A Massachusetts native and 2008 graduate of Boston University, Amanda can be reached at email@example.com and you can follow her on Twitter @acomak.
- What will Nationals do this offseason to contend again in 2014?
- As Nationals' manager search begins, Randy Knorr the players' choice
- Davey Johnson's big-league journey ends with Nationals loss
- Team spirit and Holy Spirit — for Nationals religion looms large on and off the field
- Jordan Zimmermann falls short of 20th win as Cardinals prevail again
Latest Blog Entries
- A fond farewell, and a bit of thanks
- Nationals coaches wait in limbo as team searches for next manager
- Davey Johnson won't be in uniform for Nationals in spring training
- Tanner Roark starts season finale with youthful lineup behind him (UPDATED)
- Dan Haren, Nationals top Diamondbacks in season's penultimate game
- Geraldo Rivera: Matt Drudge 'doing his best to stir up a civil war'
- Lois Lerner hated conservatives, new emails show
- Catholic League slams Obama: 'Do Christian lives mean so little to you?'
- HURT: Impeaching Obama is a losing strategy for the GOP
- CARSON: Rudderless U.S. foreign policy
- Patent workers paid to exercise, shop, do chores: report
- Federal judge grants 90-day stay in D.C. gun case
- Fla. mom arrested for allowing 7-year-old son to walk to park alone
- Senate overcomes first filibuster of Obama's border-spending bill
- Obama thanks Muslims for 'building the very fabric of our nation'
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world