RBI Program (Reviving Baseball in the Inner Cities)
RBI (Reviving Baseball in the Inner Cities) is designed to provide highschool eligible young people, ages 13-17, an opportunity to participate in structured athletic activities. The program revitalizes baseball in the inner-city by teaching young people the basic fundamentals of the game.
Participants gain the personal-development skills needed to combat negative influences in society, enabling them to pursue their educational and career goals. Approximately 1,000 deserving young men and women participate annually.
Far too many young people have lost interest in baseball and very few continue to play the game past the age of 14. The decline in interest among African-Americans is especially disappointing. RBI is an avenue that will break this cycle - it literally gives young people "a chance at bat."
OBJECTIVES: The objectives of the RBI Program are to:
- Rekindle interest in baseball for our youth;
- Provide role models/mentors for the youth by teaching problem-solving techniques, and to encourage older team members to become peer mentors;
- Strengthen young people's communication skills by exposing them to short-and long-term community service projects;
- Emphasize teamwork to improve the young people's self-esteem and sense of belonging.
- Provide training and counseling to prepare young people for future employment.
METHOD: Although the sports concept is used to attract students to our program, the main emphasis is to address their total needs. This is accomplished through a three-fold technique: social, educational and athletic development:
Social Development - RBI participants engage in "Smart Moves" seminars, which address academics, family relationships, choosing friends and peer groups, teen pregnancy, substance abuse, violence prevention, health education and money management. Facilitated by adult and peer role models, the classes help improve the young people's self-esteem and self-awareness, and teach the Club's "Three R Principle" - respect, restraint and responsibility. Job-readiness is another important program component, and participants have the opportunity to earn money and gain career skills as umpires and scorekeepers through Earn & Learn.
Educational Development - To assist participants with their academic needs, the Club's Volunteer Tutorial Program is available. Each candidate is matched with a tutor who provides one-on-one assistance in the student's area of need. A state-of-the-art computer lab also offers students computer training to enhance their academic performance.
Athletic Development - The baseball teams hold practices in various parks throughout the St. Louis-metropolitan area from June 1 through August 30. The practices are scheduled by the Club and conducted by a coaching staff of more than 250 trained volunteers. The games are held during the week and on weekends, with championship games being held in the James "Cool Papa" Stadium, adjacent to the Mathews-Dickey Boys' & Girls' Club. The program members also travel to various cities to compete in tournaments and learn about new cultures.
SITES: The RBI Program currently operates in six locations: Mathews-Dickey Boys' & Girls' Club, (James "Cool Papa" Bell Stadium), Fairgrounds Park, Jennings, University City (Heman Park) and Madison and Venice high schools.
SPONSORS: The RBI Program is sponsored in part by the St. Louis Baseball Cardinals (Cardinals Care) and Major League Baseball. The program is operated and managed by the Mathews-Dickey Boys' & Girls' Club.
CONTACT: For more information, contact Joyce Jones at (314) 382-5952, ext. 251.
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Mathews-Dickey Boys' & Girls' Club is a nonprofit 501 (c) (3) United Way member agency that annually provides educational, athletic and cultural enrichment programs to more than 40,000 young people from throughout the St. Louis metropolitan area. For 52 years the Club has taught youth respect, restraint and responsibility so that they may obtain credibility, integrity and accountability. For more information, call Barbara A. Washington or Bill Fronczak at (314) 382-5952, ext. 234.