Woman helps community by honoring baseball legend Topeka

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) – When Erma Forbes started serving as baseball legend Gil Carter’s goaltender towards the end of his life in 2015, she had no idea she would one day start an organization to benefit youth and adults. older in his honor.

But that’s exactly what she did, and today the Gil Carter Initiative is up and running in East Topeka. The organization is based in a building at 2310 SE 23rd.

“We would like to provide opportunities for young people,” Avery said, “alternative education opportunities to improve their lives – to give them insight into different career options, to provide them with activities in the neighborhood.”

Forbes launched the Gil Carter Initiative in December 2015, months after Carter, who was battling cancer, died at the age of 83 on May 31, 2015.

Carter was a professional boxer and baseball player from Topeka.

On August 11, 1959, while playing for the Carlsbad Potashers in New Mexico, Carter is credited with the longest home run in baseball history, when the ball he hit ended up 733 feet from home plate. According to some estimates, the bullet traveled more than 650 feet in the air.

Carter settled in Topeka and was known throughout the city as a supporter of youth sports before he died.

Forbes is a registered nurse from the Caribbean island nation of Grenada who came to Topeka about seven years ago to be near her children.

She served as Carter’s primary caregiver in her final days, and the two became close friends. She said she wanted to honor him with an organization that helped serve the community.

“I’ve always done community service,” Forbes said, “and I saw the need for something like this, so I hoped and prayed it would be successful and at least I tried. “

She said the Gil Carter Initiative is a work in progress.

“We have activities,” Forbes said, “not as much as we would like, as we face challenges with our building that has been given to us.”

About this facility – Forbes at one point said it housed the Clarence M. Kelly Youth Center, a juvenile detention center located at 2620 SE 23rd Street in East Topeka.

Now, she says, she hopes that same facility will help keep kids out of trouble.

“We try to keep them so busy,” she said, “that they have less time to commit crimes and more time and opportunities to do positive things in their lives.”

A major boost for the Gil Carter Initiative came earlier this summer when AARP announced that the organization had received a $15,000 grant.

Forbes said the funds will be used to purchase a greenhouse that will supply vegetables year-round.

She said the grant will also help beautify the grounds around the facility at SE 23rd and Highland Avenue, making it a place for children and older adults.

The Gil Carter Initiative also has a community garden at SE 6th and Rodgers on the east side of town.

Kansas State AARP Director Glenda DuBoise said she was thrilled that Forbes and the Gil Carter Initiative were honored with the $15,000 grant.

“We applaud it and the work they’re doing with the Gil Carter Initiative,” she said, “and AARP Kansas is just proud to be a part of it.”

Copyright 2022 WIBW. All rights reserved.

Comments are closed.