Run by Milpitas’ Police Activities League (PAL), the Junior Giants is a noncompetitive summer baseball and softball program that offers many opportunities for children to learn, grow, and be active. 

The program started back in 1994, and currently has 25,000 participants across 90 leagues. 

During each week of practice, Junior Giants leagues feature different themes — which include health, bullying prevention, and confidence — to support players in life skills and development. 

Michael Medina is a player who has deeply benefited from his involvement with Junior Giants. At 7 years old, he jumped into the Milpitas league, completely new to the world of baseball and softball. And now, at the age of 12, he has won a $5,000 scholarship and been named a Harmon & Sue Burns Scholar. He was one of ten Junior Giants to receive this honor in August. (Micheline Ma, also from the league, is the other scholarship winner from Milpitas.)

Medina, who has a prosthetic leg due to being born without a fibula bone, doesn’t let anything stop him from achieving his goals and doing what he loves. Aside from playing baseball, he also enjoys wrestling, skateboarding, and playing video games.  

The Milpitas Beat had an opportunity to interview Michael… 

What have you learned from being a part of Junior Giants? 

I’ve learned how to be a better leader out on the field. And I’ve learned integrity and teamwork, and how to help other people learn the game of baseball. 

What has been the most challenging thing for you, playing on the team? 

I’d say the most challenging is practicing hitting off the pitching machine! 

What has been the most enjoyable aspect? 

Getting to play with my teammates and getting to play the different positions. I’ve been through every position. My favorites are pitcher and first base. 

What do you want to be when you get older? And do you know where you want to go to school? 

Since I was little, I’ve liked working in the water — I love boogie boarding and swimming. I like working with and caring for animals. And I remember when I was little, we went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium and I realized I wanted to be a Marine Biologist, to help ocean animals. I was 6. 

One of my main colleges I want to go to is UC Santa Cruz. Because it’s near the beach, and I want to work near the beach!  

Is there anyone you want to thank for your achievement? 

I’d like to thank Celisse, our family friend, and a good friend’s mom. She was our team manager this year. This was her first year at Junior Giants. She gave me a letter of recommendation. And I want to thank Officer [Mark] Doyle..he gave me another letter that helped me receive the scholarship. He has worked for the league for years, as long as I’ve been here. 

I also want to thank my older sister Kailani; she stayed up all night with me. When I wanted to give up on finishing my essay, she’d stay up and help me finish.

  

Rhoda Shapiro
Rhoda Shapiro works as a journalist and media consultant in the Bay Area. She has written for both the Tri-City Voice and the Mercury News, and is the founder of Chi Media Company, which works with nonprofit organizations to elevate their marketing and communication platforms. Rhoda is also an author; her first book will be published by Llewellyn Worldwide in mid-2019. Her YouTube channel, which features practices in yoga, meditation, and women’s empowerment, has amassed thousands of subscribers. Rhoda is The Milpitas Beat’s founder.

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