Dodgers donate buses to school in Dominican

The Los Angeles Dodgers announced they will donate three 45-passenger buses to Futuro Vivo, a school in the Dominican Republic, according to Dodgers Special Advisor to the Chairman and Hall of Fame manager Tommy Lasorda. Futuro Vivo is located in Santo Domingo and was adopted and supported by the Dodgers. The school offers education, nutrition and medical assistance to more than 500 underprivileged children.

"The Dodgers have always been committed to helping the people of the Dominican Republic," said Lasorda. "These buses will be a tremendous help to Futuro Vivo and the children who attend that school."

Lasorda obtained the three buses from the Los Angeles County Metro Transit Authority, with the assistance of Los Angeles City Councilman Tom LaBonge, 4th District. After receiving the buses, the Dodgers refurbished and wrapped each bus with a specially-designed Dodger theme in an effort to spread Dodger spirit throughout the region.

The Dodgers have owned and operated Campo Las Palmas, the baseball academy in the Dominican Republic, since 1986. Since then, more than 15 Major League players, including All-Star pitcher Ramon Martinez, All-Star outfielder Raul Mondesi and three-time Cy Young Award winner Pedro Martinez, have begun their professional careers there. Among the current Dodgers who trained at Campo Las Palmas en route to the big leagues are infielder Willy Aybar and pitcher Franquelis Osoria.

The buses will be shipped from Los Angeles to Miami tomorrow, where Dodgers Advisor of Latin America, Scouting and Player Development Ralph Avila, will have them sent to Santo Domingo. The Dodgers and Avila, who ran Campo Las Palmas from its inception in 1986 through 2001, has a longstanding relationship with two Carmelite sisters, Uti and Inés, who run the school.

"We have always had a special relationship with the people of the Dominican Republic," said Avila. "The Dominican government has been instrumental in facilitating this donation and we're pleased to be working in conjunction with them."

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