Hello RBI Austin community!
What a journey the past few months have been. We hope and pray that you and your family are healthy and doing well amidst the COVID-19 crisis.
During a time of year when baseball and softball are usually in high gear, the ball fields of America have been closed — affecting everyone from T-ballers to college players to Major Leaguers to Olympians.
Different Circumstances, Same Mission
At RBI Austin, we love the games of baseball and softball, and have been so sad to not be out on the ball field with our community. However, our mission is notbaseball and softball.
Baseball and softball are simply a way that we bring people together and connect kids to teams, coaches, and mentors.
At RBI Austin, we believe the greatest need for any person is relationships. Relationships with people and a relationship with God. So, the COVID-19 crisis may have put a pause on sports. But it has not paused the need for those relationships.
How We’ve Been Affected
Today, I’ll give a brief update on RBI Austin’s plans for Summer 2020, but before I do that, I want to acknowledge a couple of important things.
First, this COVID-19 crisis is affecting each one of our families differently.
- For some of us, this has been a season of great mourning. To date, five members of our RBI Austin community have been diagnosed with COVID-19. Four of these individuals have recovered from the virus, while one — a grandparent — passed away a few weeks ago.
- For some of us, COVID-19 has led to loss of employment or reduced income, making it difficult to make ends meet and provide for our families.
- For others of us, health and income have not taken a significant hit. I’m so grateful that we’ve had members of our community step up in a big way to provide groceries and technology to our RBI Austin families in need.
The Challenge of Social Isolation
Second, there is still great need for relationships. During our needs assessment this spring, our RBI Austin families told us that one of the biggest needs their children are facing is social isolation. This social isolation is taking a toll on our kids, and many of our parents are concerned for their children’s well-being and development.
So, as we consider guidance from our state, city, and county, there is a decision to be made in how we will move forward this summer. We believe a couple things are essential…
One, because of this expressed need around social isolation, we believe it is essential to provide our RBI Austin kids an outlet for social connection and physical activity this summer.
Two, while it is critical to give kids the opportunity to be part of a team, it is just as critical to take every measure to maximize the health and safety of those participating.
We will have extensive health and safety measures in place to maximize the safety of our RBI Austin kids, families, volunteers, and staff. We have developed an RBI Austin Health Safety Rulebook that includes measures such as physical distancing, face masks, temperature checks, disinfecting of balls and other frequently touched surfaces, hand washing, and more.
Deciding What’s Best for Your Family
For some families, you may choose not to participate in person. That is totally understandable, and we will still seek to offer your children opportunities to engage in RBI programming from home.
For other families, you are eager to get back to the ball field and we will welcome you with open arms (and bottles of hand sanitizer).
No matter where you land, know that you are loved and welcome at RBI Austin.
We encourage you to prayerfully consider what is right for you and your family during this time.
At RBI Austin, we believe the greatest need for any person is relationships. Relationships with people and a relationship with God. We plan to continue to provide avenues for you and your family to engage in those relationships this summer and beyond, no matter if in person or remotely.
We love you guys. Thank you for all of you who have stepped up to contribute your time, resources, and prayers during this time of great need for our community.
The Lord has been with RBI Austin every step of the way since we launched in 2011, and we trust He will continue to guide us during this unprecedented time.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.”
I look forward to seeing you soon,
Founder & Executive Director, RBI Austin