SPORTS FOUNDATION MAKES GENEROUS DONATION
A foundation of sports enthusiasts for change named UPSWING has donated $15,000 to the San Quentin A’s baseball program to support their rehabilitative efforts and the rebranding of the team as the San Quentin Giants.
The name change for the San Quentin baseball team is a move that correlates with the planned move of the Oakland A’s away from the Bay Area to Las Vegas, leaving only the San Francisco Giants to represent the region.
“Catapulting dreams and connecting people,” is the motto of the Colorado-based organization. The UPSWING Foundation primarily helps under-served and under-privileged children in sports, according to Harmony Myers, who co-founded the foundation with her husband, Jason Myers.
“We’re following God’s breath to write, connect, and inspire people,” Harmony Myers said. “[We’re] so blessed to meet the amazing San Quentin family. Thank you for inspiring us. Onward and upward, let’s go!” she said while watching the game between the SQ team and the Mission, an outside team.
After the sale of Jason Myers’s cancer-diagnostic company, the couple used the proceeds to start UPSWING. “It’s about having heart and passion about life, so we felt it was best to give back to the kids, to save generations,” Jason Myers said.
The couple visited the prison with their team of life-changers July 12, accompanied by Brandon Terrell, a former San Quentin A’s shortstop and the prison’s equivalent of an “All-American Athlete.”
“When I first met Brandon, he was energetic and passionate about the San Quentin baseball program. He hasn’t lost that drive since I first met him,” said the foundation’s executive, Theodore Gerbick. “Our organization gives back to other nonprofits with grants, and we offer scholarships to kids and performance training to them as well.”
Since paroling, Terrell remained connected to the San Quentin baseball team and continued to contribute to the program, such as through the connections he made at Bob Goff’s Love Does Foundation. That connection enabled him to link up with UPSWING.
UPSWING reaches out to schools to select young athletes to participate in their program through their leadership academy, whose mission includes “developing strong, confident, successful student-athletes who are able to give back in meaningful ways.”
“The foundation provides opportunities to have experiences for [people in] under-privileged areas,” said Terrell, who has been out for nine months. He introduced UPSWING to the San Francisco Giants and they shared the idea of the name change of San Quentin’s team with them. “They [UPSWING] not only support [us] through donations, they believe in supporting humanity. They believe in second chances. And they support what we do here at the prison,” he said.
Vice-President of UPSWING, Joe B., got a first-hand look at the baseball program and was amazed at how organized it was. “The sense of community and the sports program here … is impossible to ignore,” he said.
The organization came into the prison to watch the San Quentin team play a game against its longtime rivals, the San Francisco Mission team. Terrell joined the Mission, playing on the opposite side against his former team for the first time.
“It’s good to see one of our own guys come back in to play against us,” said Richard “Will” Williams, head coach of the A’s. “I don’t particularly ‘like’ that, [laughs] but I’m glad to see him.”
Asked about the name change, Coach Williams said, “They [UPSWING and the San Francisco Giants] are the ones who are supporting us, so it’s the right thing to do. At one point, San Quentin had the A’s and the Giants, so I’m all for the name change.”
The SQ team beat the Mission that evening, 13–0. For Terrell, coming back into the prison to play his old teammates felt, “Surreal.”
“It’s great to see him come back, it’s cool,” said catcher Matt Negus. Negus played several seasons with Terrell, including the 2019 season in which the team ended up with a record of 38–2. “It’s inspiring to see him come back in because it lets me see that it can be done and what I would look like once I parole in October.”
Everyone came away inspired from the visit, another step in the evolution of San Quentin’s “Field of Dreams.”
“Our mission is to connect youth and athletes with a goal of connecting people and catapulting dreams,” said Josh Wilson, CEO of UPSWING.