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Middle schooler's 'sweet' gesture helps Negro Leagues Baseball Museum

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Posted at 9:29 AM, May 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-18 09:29:52-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As part of a year-long class assignment called the Mission Possible Project, 13-year-old Riordan Nash was tasked with finding a local person, place, or organization that has made a positive difference in the world.

“Raise your hand if you’ve ever been to a baseball game before," Nash asked faculty, staff, and parents at Oakhill Day School during a five-minute presentation. "Well, when I went to baseball games, I always wondered what it was like before segregation ended."

The eighth-grader said the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City is the only museum in the world that has dedicated itself to teaching people about what baseball players endured during segregation and the critical role the Negro Leagues played in helping shape American history.

“It’s very important, including in the tough times we’re going through right now," Nash said.

“[Nash] felt like this project they’re working on, Mission Possible, speaks to everything that the Negro Leagues embodies. You make a way when there seemingly is no way," said Bob Kendrick, president of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.

He said a prevailing belief was that the Negro Leagues would never survive, but instead operated for 40 years.

“They are the only place that I’ve ever learned about what baseball was like before segregation ended, and it was one of the only places that I’ve actually learned about segregation," Nash said.

Towards the end of the assignment, part of the project included spending 10 hours doing something related to the organization each student chose.

Nash chose to crank up the heat to raise some dough.

Riordan baking cookies to sell for the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum

“I love baking, I’ve been doing it for a long time now and I thought, no better way to raise money than a bake sale," Nash said.

Riordan enjoying the perks of being the chef

Several weeks after he initially reached out, Kendrick received an email letting him know Nash had spent spring break baking 46 dozen goodies and held a virtual bake sale.

I hope you consider helping out the NLBM by buying some cookies. The prices include personal delivery, either to your home during the week of March 23 or to you at Oakhill Day School the week of March 30. It is your choice. Please respond to this email and let me know what you would like to order. Payment will be due at the time of delivery.

Thank You,

Riordan Nash

Nash raised $520 to support the museum's ongoing work.

“You could see why my heart is absolutely overflowing with joy, I got a chance to meet him last week and he hand-delivered the check to me," Kendrick said. "The bigger picture is already having an understanding of what it means to give back to support, and to me, that is even more special.”

“We are going through a tough time with racial stuff right now and I think that if you learn about how they got out of segregation, people now could learn about how they can end racial problems," Nash said.

The money raised will go into the museum's operating funds as a general donation.

Kendrick called the student an extension of the museum.

This story was originally published by Gabriella Pagán at KSHB.