Cheers To Charity: WeFam United

June 09, 2021

Cheers To Charity: WeFam United

Dugout Mugs is proud to announce that WeFam United, a non-profit organization that changes the narrative of underserved youth, is our first Cheers to Charity recipient for the month of June. WeFam United was started by MLB veteran Jemile Weeks (brother of MLB All-Star Rickie Weeks Jr.) in order to empower those youngsters and the communities they live in including their backyard of Central Florida.

“With the work that we’ve done inside the community and the youth I’ve come up with and grown up with, I understand some of the challenges that we face in the inner cities and underserved communities,” Weeks said. “We knew and I knew, that we had the progressive and positive pipeline so to speak, and also that direction for individuals and families to follow that would be healing to our communities. That’s how we began the organization.”

At Dugout Mugs, we celebrate and serve the heroes of the baseball community and we do that by creating super fun gifts that bring people closer to the game. But we also do it through this initiative called Cheers To Charity, where we select one to two heroes in the baseball community and brotherhood that are doing good things in the world.

“Some are still playing, some are done playing, and on to the next chapter and we support that because that’s what it’s all about,” said Dugout Mugs CEO Kris Dehnert. “The baseball community supports us unbelievably and we try to do the same thing.”

In addition to their Pine Hills Youth Empowerment program and mission as an organization, they also have an intense passion for offering support for those fathers who help to better themselves and their chances to gain or regain a better relationship with their child or children. The WeFam Father’s initiative does just that.

“It’s definitely the single-parent home, it’s definitely the low income, it's definitely the lack of fatherhood inside the community which might be the number one thing that we don’t talk about that we should talk about,” Weeks added. “When you talk about fatherhood there is even a lack of programs for fathers inside of all these communities.”

Weeks and his team are chasing down the single-parent households, low-income households, and defining what a father figure should look like by giving more directives. For Dehnert, a father of two girls, he understands just how impactful this initiative is. “I’m a father and I understand the importance of being a father, and what that means and the ripples and repercussions of not being a good parent and sadly we see that not more than ever,” he said.

The WeFam Father’s Initiative is an eight-week program (six segments year long) that focuses on coping skills, legal support, financial support, overcoming communication barriers, and positive outings for fathers and their child/children. Funding for the project comes from a grant that they’ve earned through their county for the past few years. Services that have been rendered and used as they embark on another year.

“We are trying to fortify the fatherhood component to increase the collaboration of fathers and kids, Weeks explained. “For us, we see that the solution is more of a collaborative effect. It’s not just pertaining to governing a child, putting them in a safe environment, safe location, giving them something to keep them busy and giving them something to keep them off the street.”

In addition to our initial donation, a portion of all sales using will go directly back to the foundation. It’s money that will go directly to empowering youth in the Central Florida area as well as their Father’s Initiative, and youth baseball and softball programs.

“We do everything through the foundation,” Weeks said. “We’re with these kids every weekend right now and with community support and the faith that we have to push this program through, we’ll be an after-school program three days a week. We think this will be something we look to turn into bigger and better things going forward.”

Watch our interview with Jemile Weeks

About Cheers To Charity:

Our #CheersToCharity initiative has helped numerous foundations and organizations in our baseball community including the David Ortiz Children’s Fund, Mariano Rivera Foundation, Lance McCullers Jr. Foundation, Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, Eddie Guardado Foundation, the HelpCure HD Foundation, and many others.

If you know any heroes of the baseball world, let us know so we can continue to celebrate & serve them through our Cheers to Charity initiative!