Category Archives: Hear From Our Youth

Courage and Pride: You’re giving these gifts

  A fresh haircut, a new suit jacket, hours of practicing his speech – none of these stopped the nerves from coming on Thursday morning.
Watch Leighton & Booker’s video

“He was terrified. We didn’t know for sure how many people he would be speaking in front of, but I just kept encouraging him, ‘You can do it.’

So, when I saw my 12-year-old son on that stage talking to a ballroom filled with people, I teared up.

I can honestly say that was one of the moments I’ve been most proud of Leighton. 

He was nervous the day of the event, but he had Booker’s support, Matt’s support, and my support. He did something he was scared of doing because he believes his story is important.”

Willie Mae, Leighton’s mom, reflected on the pride she had in her son as he presented during the 2018 Now at Bat program in front of 815 guests.

This is just one example of how service like yours is impacting East Austin families — giving a boy courage and a mother pride in her son.

Spending time with your RBI Austin kids can and will change lives.

Because of involvement like yours, someone is there to teach Leighton how to pick out a suit, how to practice public speaking, how to do things that push him out of his comfort zone.

More importantly, a positive, adult role model is speaking the love and grace of Jesus Christ into Leighton — motivating him and us to love others sacrificially.

Watch Leighton & Booker’s video

Meet the Team: T-Ball Royals

Meet the Team: T-Ball Royals

Player: Kiyan

  • TEAM: T-Ball Royals
  • TIME with RBI: First season
  • SCHOOL: Lee Lewis Campbell Elementary
  • CAREER DREAMS: What do you want to be when you grow up? A Disney actor
  • LOVE OF THE GAME: What’s your favorite part about playing baseball? It’s awesome!
  • FAVORITE POSITION: Center field
  • FAVORITE PLAYER: Who is your favorite baseball player? The girl, Mo’ne Davis

 Parent: Amanda

  • RBI KIDS: One son, Kiyan.
  • TIME with RBI: This is our first season.
  • PERSONAL VALUE: What do you think Kiyan gains the most from being involved with RBI off of the ball field? The friendships and teamwork. 
  • BASEBALL PARENT: What’s the hardest part about being a baseball parent? The heat!
  • FAVORITE PART OF THE GAME: What is your favorite part of the game of baseball? Watching the kids play. They’re so cute!


Coach: Allie

  • TIME with RBI:This is my second year coaching with RBI! 
  • FAVORITE RBI MEMORY: Seeing some of our smallest players develop into kids that can throw, hit, and run super confidently.
  • PARENTS and PLAYERS: What do you think families and players gain the most from being involved with RBI? Community, friendship and just learning how to play sports. You learn a lot through team sports and parents get to grow as they get to watch their kids and learn from them. It can be very encouraging.
  • FAVORITE BASEBALL MEMORY: What’s your favorite baseball memory? One of our kids who was going to be placed on a different team this summer, ended up being placed with us again. He’s been hitting home-runs for us left and right. It’s incredible to be able to see the amount of confidence he’s gained and just how much he has grown since last year.

Meet the Team: 8U Coach Pitch Royals

Meet the Team: 8U Baseball Royals

Player: Beckett

  • TEAM: 8U Baseball Royals
  • TIME with RBI: Third season
  • SCHOOL: Laurel Mountain Elementary
  • CAREER DREAMS: What do you want to be when you grow up? An inventor. I would invent a hover car and they’re going to come in bright colors.
  • LOVE OF THE GAME: What’s your favorite part about playing baseball? Being able to play with my friends
  • FAVORITE PLAYER: Who is your favorite baseball player? I don’t know. I don’t really like baseball. My favorite team is the Express so my favorite player is probably Spike. I’ve been to his dog house 25 times.

Parent: Alyssa

  • RBI KIDS: One son, Beckett.
  • TIME with RBI: This is our third season.
  • PERSONAL VALUE: What do you think Beckett gains the most from being involved with RBI off of the ball field? Sportsmanship, being part of a team, and being part of something bigger than himself. He also gets to cheer on his teammates.
  • PROUD PARENT: When is a time you were most proud of Beckett? I’m most proud of him when I see him being compassionate to other people. He’s very aware of all the homeless people on the side of the road. He wants to know all about them and help them. Any time he thinks of other people first, I’m proud of him.
  • BASEBALL PARENT: What’s the hardest part about being a baseball parent?It’s a time commitment. It doesn’t seem like a lot, but people are working and living all over the city so it’s definitely a big time commitment. Well worth it, though. 
  • GAMEDAY MUST-HAVE: What is something you have to have with you when you are watching a game? Every game I bring a squirt bottle and I spray all the players to keep them cool. It’s very popular.


Coach: Brian

  • TIME with RBI:This is my 5th year involved with RBI but my first year with coach pitch. Beckett is my son so I’ve just moved up through age groups as he’s gotten older.
  • BACKGROUND: Did you play sports growing up? I played sports, but I was from a really small town and we didn’t have a lot of money so I didn’t play baseball. I played soccer, basketball and some softball and I always enjoyed it.
  • LEARNING FROM THE KIDS: What’s something you’ve learned from Beckett? Resilience and keeping focused. He has cystic fibrosis so putting on weight and muscle and everything about sports is hard for him. We try to push him towards sports to help him with that, but it’s always a struggle. When he was struggling to get a hit last season, he was really determined. He said he wanted to go out and practice 20 minutes a day every day until he got a hit. Getting to cheer him on is awesome.
  • PARENTS and PLAYERS: What do you think families and players gain the most from being involved with RBI? I think RBI is a family. We talk about cheering on each other, and I think it brings out a commonality. All of these parents drive so far and put in so much time and effort so getting all of the players together is really special. A couple games ago a few of our players said they were glad their coaches didn’t yell at them so we try to always be positive and encouraging for our players, even when we’re correcting them.
  • PROGRAM VALUE: What do you think you gain from being involved with RBI? The relationships with the players and seeing them all growing up from season to season. Seeing them remembering the value of teamwork and knowing that they always have people around them who they can lean on.

Angel & Arturo’s Story

Angel & Arturo’s Story

Story by: Lori Richter
Photos by: Jennifer Crane

“Nobody had to hold him down when they crucified him. He just took it!” says Angel, a Reagan High School student, as he relates his eye-opening encounter with Christ.

Angel plays for the Blazers, a Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) team. Sponsored by Major League Baseball, RBI’s mission is to bring baseball back to areas where youth baseball programs have disappeared. Austin’s RBI chapter partners with The For the City Network and The Austin Stone Community Church.

Angel and his friend Arturo were in a Bible study last year with the Blazers. Their coaches observed God working in the boys’ hearts. Arturo was very inquisitive, while Angel was quieter. During the last study of the year, tears welled up in Angel’s eyes as he grasped the truth that Christ was his hope and a Savior who would never leave him.

Blazers coach Sam Bohmfalk, a senior Journalism major at The University of Texas, says of Angel, “He’s begun to take on more of a leadership role with our baseball team. … He’s starting to recognize that he can spread the Word of God through doing positive things for those around him.”

Sam took Angel and Arturo to Georgia for a Young Life camp. The boys excitedly reminisce about the ride in a charter bus, fishing in the lake, diving, riding the zip line, testing their courage on the ropes course, and lastly, the girls.

Their words pack an emotional punch when they describe how they came to understand God’s love. Arturo reflects, “It opened our eyes to what he’s done for us. He died on the cross and didn’t even move when they stabbed him with the nails. He’s done so much; he’s forgiven our sin.”

Sam has noticed God’s redemptive work in Arturo. He says, “He’s begun to pray and think about his life. He used to gauge whether or not he should do something by what the world around him would say, but now he has taken the approach of asking the question, ‘Is this pleasing to God?’”

Arturo and Angel both recognize that their view of God has changed. Arturo says, “I wasn’t into God. It was a rare occasion that I needed him. I didn’t think of him or pray at night. Now I talk to him. I read the Bible. It’s hard to read, but interesting.”

Angel and Arturo have dreams for the future and hope to help their families go deeper than their own ambitions. As Arturo observes how hard his dad works, he desires to help provide for his family financially through going to college and playing professional baseball. Angel, who would like to be a Marine, shares this desire to provide for his family.

Arturo is full of gratitude for what God has already provided for him. He says, “I am blessed! God has given me this opportunity to play baseball and to make friends. I thank God for the field, the batting cages, and the equipment he’s given me!”