Category Archives: Mentoring

Pursuing even when it’s hard

Pursuing, Even When It’s Hard

 

Jessica and Mariah were matched two years ago and their relationship is stronger and deeper than ever!

In November 2016, Jessica and Mariah were matched through RBI Austin’s mentoring program. A year later, they’d built some rapport and moved past the initial, be-on-your-best-behavior stage. 

Being one of nine siblings with a father who had been incarcerated, Mariah comes from a full house with many inconsistencies.

Jessica came to find that while Mariah was quiet and reserved, she carried a hard, cautious attitude and could pack a powerful punch with her words. 

Last fall, when her father was released from prison and returned back home, she was on a particularly steady streak of being rude and disrespectful. 

I knew she was experiencing some hard things at home with her dad and in school with her friends, so I was trying to remember that these actions were a result of a deeper hurt and because of some inconsistency in crucial relationships,” shared Jessica.

One day, after many unsuccessful attempts to redirect Mariah’s hurtful behavior, Jessica’s patience ran out and she told Mariah, “We can’t hang out anymore today. You can call me when you think you are ready to be kind and want to hang out again.

A few days later, Jessica came across a passage in the Bible that reminded her about how Jesus pursues us.

I started thinking, I mess up all the time and Jesus still pursues me! Part of my role in loving Mariah like Jesus is that I get to pursue her again and again,” Jessica recounted.

Two years after their match date, Jessica and Mariah’s relationship is stronger and deeper. They are now regularly meeting with another RBI Austin mentor-mentee pair to study the Bible together. 

One of the ways Mariah loves studying the Bible is by drawing what she’s learned.

It has been so encouraging to see how excited the girls are to read the Bible,” Jessica shared. “It is really cool to see these two girls become friends and to be excited to learn about the Word of God together.

Thanks to your support, Mariah has a godly woman investing in her life year-round.

 

Relationships Over Programs: Why in the World (Series)?!

Relationships Over Programs:
Why in the World (Series)?!

After spraining his ankle three days before the RBI Southwest Regional, Oscar Zamorano feared that his spot on the RBI Austin 18U Regional team was in jeopardy.

If he wasn’t on the regional roster and RBI Austin advanced, he’d be ineligible for the MLB RBI World Series.

Oscar had been loyal to the team all summer long, faithfully showing up to practices and games on time, and always supporting his teammates.

Instead of replacing Oscar with someone who could compete that weekend, the coaches decided to keep Oscar on the roster.

Why in the world would they do that during such a competitive tournament?

After not having pitched in almost three weeks, Oscar threw 3 1/3 innings of no-hit baseball before giving way to a reliever during RBI Austin’s first game at the RBI World Series against Arizona RBI. 


Oscar, a first-generation American citizen from Del Valle, is intelligent, hardworking, and a little on the quiet side. 

Sometimes feeling caught in between two worlds — his family speaks Spanish at home, while Oscar speaks English everywhere else.

Oscar’s family did not have the resources to afford an expensive, high-level select baseball program, but after being discovered in RBI’s summer league in 2017, he was chosen to participate in RBI’s Fall Player Development Academy.

This following spring in his senior season, Oscar was named a 1st-Team All-District Pitcher.

He was then chosen to represent RBI Austin in the RBI Southwest Regional, where he would compete against Houston Astros RBI, Texas Rangers RBI, and New Orleans RBI.

Over the course of the summer, Oscar established himself as one of the top pitchers on the RBI Austin regional team and even received his first offer to play at a junior college!

Since both of Oscar’s parents work Monday to Friday and were sometimes unable to get off work, RBI Austin Coach Mark Price would pick him up in Del Valle, and together they’d drive to the team’s pre-regional warmup tournaments in Waco and San Antonio.

“At first I thought Oscar was just a quieter kid, which in some ways he is, but as the miles wore on, I learned about Oscar’s bicultural daily life and how that impacts his demeanor and relationships.

We also talked about the generational differences in country music (Del Valle is out in the country…) and how two-stepping is a fun, natural way to strike up a conversation with a girl,” shared Coach Mark.

Coach Mark meets with the umpires and Arizona RBI coach before the first World Series game at Target Field. 


You don’t get these kind of opportunities to know someone — to be let into someone’s life — by caring first and foremost about a baseball program or about winning a game. 

Conversations about pitching techniques and batting stances are helpful on the field, but they alone don’t produce trust, rapport, or depth in a relationship.

These opportunities come in the unplanned, out-of-the-way drives up and down I-35, in the airplane rides to Minnesota, in the extra spaces when coaches go out of their way to spend time with their players and to ask them questions.

In the conversations about two-stepping, financial burdens, cultural disparity, country music, language barriers, insecurities, and dating — this is where trust is built, where relationships are made, where rapport is established, and where young men get to look up to older men for advice, wisdom, and guidance. 

In choosing to invest in a player beyond just what he can produce for your team, in caring about the character of a young man — this is where kids are engaged and developed into game-changers in their community.

Because of Coach Mark, Oscar was shown that perseverance, dedication, selflessness, teamwork, and sacrifice are an imperative complement to skill, strength, and technique. 

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

Combatting the Odds

“What’s one of the most encouraging things about seeing RBI Austin grow?”

I’m asked this question often, and to give an answer, I want you to meet my friend Bryan and his mentee Landon, who just celebrated their two-year mentor/mentee anniversary on November 5th.

As the child of an incarcerated father, Landon is six times more likely to be expelled or suspended from school than other children.

And as a black male, Landon has a one in three chance of going to prison in his lifetime.

Our prayer is that Landon will overcome those odds.

RBI mentoring and baseball are slowly transforming Landon — tempering anger, building self-esteem, and growing in the ability to maintain positive relationships.

RBI Austin has provided Landon a consistent, year-round mentor whom we’ve seen God use to point Landon to the truth that there is One who will never leave him, never walk out, never stop showing up. 

Along with his mentor, baseball is a mechanism we’ve seen God use to shake Landon’s leadership skills to the surface. 

“We gradually introduced him to baseball, and I think he surprised himself. You could see self-esteem building up in him because he challenged himself to do something he hadn’t done before. I don’t think he’s had an opportunity to display his leadership characteristics, and baseball helped him tap into those characteristics that he didn’t realize he had,” shared Bryan, Landon’s mentor.

Thanks to your support, Landon is not the only RBI Austin kid engaged in a transformative, year-round relationship.

Through our mentor match program and baseball/softball programs, 142 of our 1,171 RBI Austin kids (12%) are engaged in a year-round relationship with an RBI coach or mentor. But that still leaves the majority of our RBI Austin kids who direly need a consistent relationship like Landon has with Bryan.

How you can help combat the odds:

  1. Please join me in praying for the Lord to DOUBLE the number of RBI Austin kids engaged in a year-round coach/mentor relationship in 2018 from 142 to 284.
  2. Make a year-end gift to help us reach our goal! As of today, $31,220 of our $82,542 Going Going Give goal has been raised – thank you!! We still need $51,322 and would love your help in meeting our goal.

Thank you for believing in RBI Austin, in Landon, and in our 1,170 other RBI Austin kids.

We’re grateful to have you on our team,

Matt Price
Founder & Director, RBI Austin

P.S. If you haven’t done so already, I invite you to make a year-end gift by December 31st through one of the giving links below.

Female Mentors Needed

Female Mentors Needed!

RBI Mentoring program is growing and we have ten Oak Springs Elementary 4th grade girls who are waiting to be matched with a female mentor!

Who believed in you when you were growing up? Who saw and affirmed characteristics in you that you didn’t even know you possessed? Who was present when others walked out? Who helped you realize you were capable? Valuable? Worthy?

We need female mentors who are committed to investing in the life of a 4th grade girl through high school graduation and develop her into a future leader of her community.

Our prayer is to identify 15 females over the course of this school year who are ready to make this commitment to mentor with RBI.

Would you consider joining us? 

If you are interested or if you’d just like some more information, the first step is to attend one of our orientations. The last volunteer orientation of 2017 is on Tuesday, November 28th from 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Interested? Great!
•  Sign up for our next orientation here.
OR
• Contact our Lead Mentor Coordinator Bitia Buenrostro at bitia@rbiaustin.org.

2014 Update – Where We’ve Been and Where We’re Going

2014 Update – Where We’ve Been and Where We’re Going

Over the past several years, we have seen God move in great ways in and through RBI Austin. 2014 has been no exception!

From a new field to mentors to trips to the MLB All-Star Festivities and RBI World Series, there is much to celebrate! Check out this video from Director Matt Price where he recaps some of the exciting things this year and shares where we’re headed in the coming months.

Thank you for your faithful support. You are RBI Austin, and we are grateful for each of you.

As Matt mentioned, here are the top three ways to get involved heading into the fall:

1) Become a mentor: www.rbiaustin.org/mentor
2) Support us financially: www.rbiaustin.org/give
3) Pray!

RBI Mentoring: The Glory of a Thousand Strokes

RBI Mentoring: The Glory of a Thousand Strokes

I am a dreamer. My heart yells at me to do big things. So in response to the screaming I do them halfway, get overwhelmed and mark another thing down on the long list of “almost-dids” (the list found in between the to-do and completed lists). If I could have it my way I would do right to every injustice, give until every need was met, make sure everyone knew how deeply loved they were and I would get all of that done in one swift, bold, courageous, inspirational movement. One and done. Hence why I have failed miserably and have a short, puny list of completed dreams. Most of them being dreams that I can take zero credit for.

Today I sat down with my crazy, bold little self and my dreams long enough for something to be revealed to me: what artist completes a masterpiece in one paint stroke? Da Vinci didn’t take one swipe across the canvas to create a perfect Mona Lisa. God didn’t even create the world in one snap of his fingers, even though He has the unimaginable power to do that. With that on my heart, today I was led to Genesis 1, the creation of the world; the most brilliant, massive piece of artistry ever and it was a process. God stepped back to look at His work countless times, gloried in it, and then went back with intentionality and shaped things further towards perfection.

He gloried when day and night were created. He gloried in the dry land, the sky, the water, and the animals. If we even had the capacity to imagine the kind of creativity, the amount of heart behind it, the emotion and excitement God must have been feeling just to complete His project, we would be in even more awe of His patience and intentionality in each stroke. Today I am beside myself trying to grasp with my heart how much God gloried in the little things, in the process. Not even God took one stroke and said, “I’m done. It’s perfect.”

The whole time I read this I kept thinking of RBI Mentoring. The need in the East Austin area is the elephant in the room. There is hurt hidden behind smiles and brokenness concealed behind the walls of old housing. The need is there and it aches to be addressed, but too often we drive past it. But, just as in every community, regardless of our action or lack thereof, Jesus is doing a big work and RBI Mentoring gets the honor of walking beside Him to bring both transformation and healing in this community. We get a chance to address the brokenness. My heart is just like “okay Jesus, let’s do this all at once. Let’s hurry and make everything better”, but Jesus consistently reminds me to slow down, sit back and watch the Creator create through this mentoring program. Jesus’ hand is all over this. I’ve watched as He has moved with intentionality in flawlessly placing mentors with mentees. In this, we have encountered countless roadblocks and wondered about the process calling it a little lucky, but He called it planned. Jesus’ creativity is found in his movement through RBI Mentoring, through a baseball program, and through sports. I am humbled by the fact that His masterpiece is actively being painted by flawed people, like us, who He handpicked to unleash the Gospel in this East Austin community.

“For we do not preach ourselves but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your slaves for the sake of Jesus. For God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to bring to light the knowledge of the glory of God on the face of Jesus Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:5-6)

As mentors, we are given the opportunity to mirror our Father’s characteristics and how cool is that?! We have the joy of reflecting God’s intentionality as we purposefully pursue building a relationship with our mentee and their family with a genuine care for their lives and their hearts. We have the privilege to display Jesus and let His light shine through us as we sacrifice of our time, offer consistency, and build a relationship based off of something deeper- the love of Christ. These relationships aren’t built off of one single moment, but rather countless moments which provide room for us to be creative just as Jesus was and is.

How do we share the gospel with a child? We love them, we walk with them, we fix bikes, we belly laugh with them and we play pick-up basketball. This is what I have seen in these relationships and this is what He created us for. This is why we do what we do, in constant pursuit of these kids and this community, because we live with eternity in our hearts. While one matched mentor and mentee is glory enough, God hasn’t stopped there. Every day there is something to celebrate with RBI Mentoring- more potential mentors or mentees, more matches being made, more hearts changing. Simply put, we are surrounded by bountiful victories we just have to stop long enough to revel in the little glories of Jesus. Then we are called to continue forward with even greater fervor as if what we did yesterday just wasn’t enough because that’s what God did when he created the earth and that’s his character. He doesn’t stop moving, creating and perfecting His work.

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23)

So from the heart of a hopeful-one-stroke artist to the next, let’s put down our paintbrushes to see the King of the universe paint for us in the glory of a thousand strokes in our community through the RBI Mentoring program.

Let’s celebrate what June brought on the MENTORING front!

Let’s celebrate what June brought on the MENTORING front!

The month of June has been full of summer fun for RBI Mentoring! We are so excited to share with you what we’ve been up to and all that has happened so far this summer!

Praises

We have been able to match FIVE new Oak Springs 4th graders with mentors since June 3! THIS IS HUGE! Because it means……Five more students from Austin’s inner city are now provided with a steadfast, faithful mentor who will walk beside and help guide them through life.

2014-06-16 12.58.44

Nik, Miguel, and family!

Upcoming Events

We will be hosting a dinner for our current Mentors at Maudie’s at the Triangle on July 7 @ 6:30 pm. We are pumped to hear from our mentors, have them share their experiences, and have a time to encourage one another in this process!

Prayer Requests

We want to first praise God for the success that He has given us so far! With that, we would love for you to partner with us in praying for our current mentorships and our mentees’ families! Ask that God would give us favor with the families and that Jesus would use the mentorships as a platform to draw them near to Himself! Pray that we will be able to match the remaining students we have before the summer ends, that we will be able to have fruitful communication with parents, and that we will be able to continue to find mentors!

Interested in becoming an RBI mentor? Visit www.rbiaustin.org/mentor to learn more and find out how!

THANK YOU for your support!