Veteran police officer helps young adults through baseball at SW Miami-Dade school

SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - A veteran police officer is using his passion for the community to help young adults stay out of trouble through baseball.

Detective Wayne Hendricks is a 10-year veteran of the Miami-Dade Police Department. He’s passionate about solving crimes, but his other passion is to help students.

“I hoping that it’s made a huge impact on them,” Hendricks said.

He’s the head coach of Miami Southridge Senior High School’s baseball team, and hopes he will impact his players to stay on the right path through the sport.

“I think self-confidence is everything,” Hendricks said. “I tell our guys all the time, you know, it’s OK to work in the restaurant, but one day, you need to own that restaurant. That’s what we kind of stress and we kind of strive and push them towards.”

The team advanced to the playoffs on Tuesday.

Miami-Dade Police Director Juan Perez, who’s a Southridge graduate, was also in attendance.

“It’s fulfilling to see the future, you know, ’cause you can see how bright the future’s gonna be because you can see how bright their eyes are when you look into them,” Perez said, “and how inspired they are by their coach.”

Outfielder George Valdes will be the first member of his family to attend college. He’s going on a baseball scholarship.

“He wants the best for us, he wants us to do all great things,” Valdes said. “He’s getting us prepared for the next level of college.”

Baseball player Rahin Gaiter is also going to college on a baseball scholarship.

“My coach, Wayne, he likes to work hard, he likes to work us hard, he likes to have fun,” Gaiter said.

Southridge lost Tuesday night’s game, but Hendricks had a message for his players even in the loss.

“We’re gonna keep fighting. This is not the end,” he said. “This is just the beginning of things that we’re gonna go through.”

“It’s beyond words to describe what he’s doing for these kids,” Perez said.

Hendricks told 7News about a letter he received from a former player that still makes him emotional.

“He was our valedictorian, and he said for three years before I arrived there, he was unable to do that. And to know that I was able to bring that to him and give him one last year of experience that was memorable for him,” Hendricks said. “Unfortunately, he did not go on to play college baseball, but the fact that he was able to say that was the best year of his high school career, that’s what this is all about.”

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