MLB, UCF Puerto Rico Research Hub team up to give students unique opportunity

ORLANDO, Fla. — Education is the theme of this year’s Florida Puerto Rican Parade and Festival in downtown Orlando.

>>> STREAM CHANNEL 9 EYEWITNESS NEWS LIVE <<<

But learning goes beyond just the classroom.

Major League Baseball recently teamed up with the the University of Central Florida Research Hub to provide students with a unique opportunity to learn more than just a game.

Together, they hosted a baseball day for families in Central Florida last month.

READ: ‘Pearl of the south’: Florida Puerto Rican Parade and Festival to highlight city of Ponce

Former MLB star Carlos Baerga headlined the list of volunteers that also included UCF coaches and players.

John Montes grew up in Puerto Rico.

“Puerto Rico is baseball. It’s what we do. It runs through my veins,” he said.

The game that serves as the pulse of the island was a vehicle for greater purpose.

Of course, no Puerto Rican baseball player is as popular as the late Roberto Clemente.

READ: Florida Puerto Rican Parade & Festival: How to watch

The foundation bearing his name will be taking part in the parade this weekend.

“Any activity that recognizes the Puerto Rican community, I think it brings up all that validity to the community of the good contributions that we’re making here in Central Florida and in Florida,” said Fernando Rivera.

A population Rivera wants to make sure the kids are proud of.

“I’m pretty sure these kids are gonna remember this event for the rest of their lives. That time that they came to campus, and hopefully 10-15 years from now they’re going to be our students. They’re going to be an athlete. They’re going to be Puerto Rican leaders in the community,” Rivera said.

READ: Local assistant superintendent to be honored as grand marshal of Florida Puerto Rican Parade

The latest numbers from the Puerto Rico Research Hub show the Hispanic population in Central Florida is primarily Puerto Rican.

If you’re not heading downtown to enjoy the parade and festival, you can see the floats, hear the music and experience the culture on Channel 9.

You can join us for our live broadcast of the 2022 parade in downtown Orlando. It starts at 11 a.m. Saturday.

Click here to download the free WFTV news and weather apps, click here to download the WFTV Now app for your smart TV and click here to stream Channel 9 Eyewitness News live.