Executive director and founder of International Stars Baseball Justin Prinstein supports kids in Detroit through his baseball academy.
Featured photo courtesy of Allison Farrand
Southfield native Justin Prinstein has been enamored with baseball since a young age. He was a scholarship player at George Washington University, made his professional debut overseas, graduated from University of Detroit-Mercy’s law school and was a major league scout for the Baltimore Orioles organization.
Now, Prinstein, 35, is using his baseball knowledge to enhance Detroit’s youth. Prinstein is the executive director and founder of International Stars Baseball, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
The idea of the International Stars Baseball Academy came to Prinstein when he was in law school trying to find a place to train in Detroit. The only option he could find that had the netting and space he needed was at the Boll Family YMCA in Detroit.
In 2012, Prinstein decided he wanted kids in Detroit to be able to play the sport he was passionate about. He decided to host weekly baseball clinics at the YMCA that were free and open to kids ranging from ages 5-14.
During this time Prinstein met Larry White, a maintenance man at the YMCA, who helped him run the clinics. Prinstein’s father, Jay, also became active in the weekly clinics.
From there, the organization continued to grow. International Stars decided to enter a team comprised of kids from their winter baseball clinics into the 2013 Detroit Police Athletic League (PAL)/RBI summer league. White was named the head coach of this team and serves as the academy director.
Today, International Stars has four teams playing leagues during the spring, summer and fall. This year, their 14u team won the Detroit PAL summer league. Prinstein also has had a couple of the teams finish in the top places in the Detroit Legends League which takes place in the spring and fall.
“We have turned our program from kids who have never picked up a bat before to one of the most competitive city teams by far,” Prinstein said. “That’s a testament to our coaching staff and our kids.”
Although Prinstein is the sole executive director for International Stars Baseball Academy, the academy wouldn’t be where it is today without the support from coach White.
“He goes out of his way to mentor these kids. He’s like everyone’s uncle,” Prinstein said. “He doesn’t get paid for this, he does it out of the goodness of his heart. His sons, Layton and Landon, and White himself are on the ground picking these kids up from their homes and are making sure they get dinner after the games.”
Prinstein is now looking to expand and grow the International Stars Baseball Academy. His ultimate goal is to build a free year-round indoor-outdoor facility in Detroit for boys and girls.
“This could bring more national attention to Detroit and more funding for after school programming,” Prinstein said. “I want to bring international tournaments to Detroit, but if we don’t have multiple fields and a complex to house that, we can’t do it.”
In addition to enhancing their baseball/softball skills at this indoor facility, Prinstein wants to implement a “safe environment with after-school tutoring, mentoring programs, social work services and career development with an emphasis on character development.”
Prinstein’s mother, Dayle, was a social worker for Royal Oak public schools. Her dedication to her students inspires him to offer additional outreach services.
Through the academy, Prinstein has not only witnessed the kids become better baseball players, but also has seen a positive impact on their emotional well-being and their success in school.
“Seeing this impact on an individual basis and giving these kids a path to maybe play college baseball is what this organization is all about,” Prinstein said.
If you would like to donate to help fund the indoor/outdoor facility, you can visit their website: http://isbaseball.com/donate/. You can also donate sports equipment or volunteer as a coach.