Baseball and big hearts brought Kristie Edwards and her husband, Mike, together. The then 20-somethings were recent college graduates when they met as coaches of opposing Little League teams near Chicago’s infamous (and since demolished) Cabrini-Green housing project. “I was the only female coach,” Kristie says, and Mike was “very involved” in the organization. “The boys [on the teams] were the ones who introduced us.”
Mike was selling insurance and Kristie was in sales at The Merchandise Mart, but they dedicated nearly all their after-work hours to mentoring the 9- to 12-year-old boys, most from one of Chicago’s toughest neighborhoods. “We were broke, but we took them out for pizza and snacks,” Kristie says. “We practically lived at the field.”
Even after they were married, Mike and Kristie remained close to several of the kids; three of them were attendants at their wedding. “The boys just stayed in our lives,” says Kristie. Fifteen years later—blessed with financial success—she and Mike continue to share their time, money, hearts, and even their home with various young people.
Photographs by Gordon Beall
Text by Amy Elbert
Produced by Hilary Rose