Kidz Express Honoree Spotlight:
Haverstraw Little League
Jawonio is thrilled to honor the HLL at this year’s
12th Annual Kidz Express on Thursday, May 2nd, 2019!
From the 1966 Tournament of Champions- The Nanuet Yankees
The Haverstraw Little League was founded in 1952 to provide opportunities for youth to play baseball in the Haverstraw community. Within ten years of its founding, the leadership of the league, Dominic “Babe” Gamboli, who was President at the time, and his colleagues began a philanthropic effort to support special needs children in the county who attended “Camp Jawonio” in New City. The legacy of giving and philanthropy that Mr. Gamboli and his colleagues started in 1961 still continues today.
"The motto for the Tournament of Champions was always 'For those who can't, by those who can.' First and foremost, creating the Tournament of Champions (TOC) was about the cause; supporting the program for children with special needs in the community. Second, the TOC was the only game in town. It was the only opportunity that the winning teams from each of the Little Leagues across Rockland could play each other in a county wide tournament,” said Vinnie Gamboli, founder Dominic Gamboli’s son.
Since the beginning, the TOC has taken place at the end of the Little League season, in June, over the course of one week. At first the tournament travelled between the different Little League fields, but when Haverstraw Little League got the first scoreboard and lights in the county, the TOC settled there and has been there ever since. The winning teams of each Little League in Rockland County all participate. There is an opening day ceremony that the teams come out for where they are educated about the purpose of the TOC. Families are invited to make donations to the cause throughout the week. Local businesses have also sponsored and made donations to the tournament over the years as well. The Rockland Boulders sponsored the TOC for two years in 2016 and 2017. It is a community wide effort. The TOC has added special activities from time to time such as hosting a home run derby. Girls Softball was added in the 1990’s. The Journal News sponsored the TOC for decades and provided extensive coverage of the games in their newspaper.
1985 Journal News Spread on the Tournament of Champions
2018 Gil Carlevaro, HLL Treasurer, presents donation to Jill Warner, CEO of Jawonio
The Tournament of Champions has not only made an impact in terms of the funds it has helped to raise, but more importantly, it has created philanthropists through the generations of Little League children and families from all across Rockland County who have gotten involved in the tournament, giving back and supporting children with special needs. It shows the incredible generosity of our community.
“There have been four generations of Gamboli’s involved with the TOC. My father Dominic who was a founder, and served as President of the Haverstraw Little League three times, me, my son, Vinnie Jr. and now, my two grandchildren,” says Vinnie. A very proud legacy for the Gamboli family. The Gambolis, along with all of the leaders of the HLL, have created a culture of philanthropy among all of the participants for decades.
Alyce Ingram, whose family is also being honored at the Kidz Express this year, holds a special place within the league as she was the first female President from 2013 – 2015. Her husband Kevin has been a volunteer coach for the league for over 15 years. HLL now has their second female President, Caren Desch. Her husband, Rick Desch, received the Volunteer Appreciation award for 30 years of service in 2017.
2014 Tournament of Champions Winners- The Cardinals
2017 Tournament of Champions, Rick Desch receives volunteer appreciation award for 30 years of service
Thank you Haverstraw Little League and the Tournament of Champions for raising over $500,000 for children with special needs since 1961.
Join us at the Kidz Express and help us honor this incredible organization on May 2nd.
We provide care for over 10,000 people with special needs each year.
Jawonio is a registered 501c3 organization and the premier provider of lifespan services in the Hudson Valley of New York State for individuals with developmental disabilities, behavioral health challenges, and chronic medical conditions.
Jawonio is dedicated to advancing the independence, well-being, and equality of people with disabilities and special needs.