UMPS CARE Charities is proud to announce a new initiative – The Official Leadership Program – a 6-week course focused on leadership, social and emotional learning and umpiring skills that is launching this month.

Our unique curriculum, inspired by Major League Baseball Umpires and developed by educators, umpires and non-profit executives, will be taught to teens at Major League Baseball Youth Academies in Houston and Washington, D.C., and the DREAM Charter School in Harlem.

“We are thrilled to get this program up and running this summer,” said Jennifer Skolochenko-Platt, Executive Director at UMPS CARE Charities. “There is a crisis in this country with a shortage of officials, not only in baseball but in all sports. We wanted to be a part of the solution, helping develop umpires who could go straight from this program to working games on the field. But even more importantly, we wanted to help develop strong leaders and provide these teens the mentorship they need to succeed both in umpiring and as young adults.”

As part of this program, UMPS CARE will provide connections with Major League Baseball Umpires so students can hear their stories and learn from their journeys. The National Baseball Hall of Fame also will provide a virtual tour of its amazing baseball memorabilia, including some special items from umpires.

One class session will be devoted to sportsmanship, taught through the lens of retired MLB Umpire Jim Joyce, whose call 11 years ago resulted in Armando Galarraga losing out on a perfect game. Joyce and Galarraga both displayed incredible sportsmanship following the game, and even co-wrote a book. Joyce will be a special guest instructor during this course.

In addition, current MLB Umpires will take time out from their busy schedules to Zoom with students and share stories on and off the field.

Another class will focus on financial literacy as the goal is to have teens take their newfound umpiring skills to the fields and earn money being around the sport they love. Our partners at Finemark Bank  will be leading this lesson.

UMPS CARE is partnering with Minor League Baseball UmpireJen Pawol, and her established Evolve Junior Umpire Program to teach students umpire mechanics. By the end of this course, students will be ready to confidently officiate baseball and softball games.

Most importantly, UMPS CARE is working with these teens to develop umpire mentors so if they decide to call games they will have ongoing support and guidance.

We are grateful for the support of The National Baseball Hall of Fame, FineMark Bank & Trust, Jen Pawol and Evolve 2 Excellence, Jim Joyce, Jim Kirk and the team at, Big League Chew, Malachi Moore, the team at the DREAM Charter School, the MLB Youth Academies in Washington, D.C., and in Houston, Tim Kiefer of, and educators Jennifer Tumpane and Tom Dolan for their guidance in making this program a reality.