They may never even know your name, and that's okay.
Did you know that for the past seven years, the Vancouver Canadians Baseball Foundation has quietly gone about its business helping children from all across the Lower Mainland? A modest fundraiser here, a boisterous luncheon there all in hopes of giving local kids a much-needed combination of hope, opportunity, self-worth and the chance to shine in a variety of ways.
The blueprint was simple. Bring our community together to help those who needed us. It didn't matter if we were needed once or several times - our mission was to subtly be there for local families during those times when things got a little rough. No fanfare, no bells and whistles, just there to help because we believed that was our responsibility as caretakers of professional baseball in Vancouver.
When we first started this journey back in 2009, our goal was to bring 100 local children out to historic Scotiabank Field at Nat Bailey Stadium and provide them with a cost-free summer playing in our Youth Baseball League. That year, we ended up welcoming more than 300 kids because the need was so great. Children from Langley and Coquitlam, East Vancouver and the North Shore were all transported to and from their games, provided with a warm dinner, a bag full of equipment and the chance to play baseball without a price tag simply because we wanted them to feel the excitement of rounding third base in the warm glow of the late afternoon sunshine. They laughed, got dirty, and for a few moments each week could actually just be a child, leaving the struggle of everyday life on the other side of the fences to our hallowed ballpark. Seven years later, and we are quickly approaching the welcoming of our 2,000th child.
We also heard the call to action from those who are trying to provide opportunities for children with physical and cognitive challenges that wanted and deserved a chance to play organized baseball. This past year the Vancouver Canadians Baseball Foundation rolled up its sleeves and helped facilitate the creation of Western Canada's first ever completely accessible synthetic baseball field just steps away from Scotiabank Field. A home for all who play Challenger Baseball with widen-entry points, a field that can be played on by athletes of all abilities and most importantly a home without barriers for our future baseball stars.
What are dream started out as has changed as we stopped to listen to those around us who struggle. It's so much more than just 'getting out there', but knowing what we need to do once we are 'out there'. It's providing dignity to those who struggle to find it in everyday life. It's developing friendships and providing an equal playing ground for all. We have come to understand that although we are helping the child by providing the opportunity that we are in turn actually helping the entire family who has to at times deal with the guilt of having to say 'no'.
This is what our Vancouver Canadians Baseball Foundation has evolved into. A place where a child or a family can come to and without saying a word, find the help and support through baseball to take some pressure off from a very challenging time in many of our lives. There are no words to describe it, no easy way to say "I need help". That is why this note to you today is so important.
The Vancouver Canadians Baseball Foundation is introducing its 1st Annual 'Beyond The Nat' Week, where we reach deeper than ever before into our community and not so quietly ask for your support. We are seeing more than ever before a genuine need for us to be there as these families come forward. We have worked hard to get our Foundation to this point and we couldn't be prouder that we have this responsibility. We are also humble enough to admit that we cannot take this on without your support.
By visiting our website here at www.canadiansbaseball.com and making a donation to our Vancouver Canadians Baseball Foundation between the week of Monday, January 16th and Friday, January 20th, 2017, you will be helping us change the lives our families from across the Lower Mainland by providing them with hope, opportunity, self-worth and excellence. We are making a difference together and Beyond The Nat ensures we can continue to do so.
To make a donation to the Vancouver Canadians Baseball Foundation during our #beyondthenat Week, click HERE.
As well, for the first time ever, the Vancouver Canadians Baseball Foundation is hosting an on-line silent auction from Monday, January 16th through Friday, January 20th, 2017 that you can take part in from anywhere in the world! The C's have a number of amazing packages and opportunities here, so please take advantage of this easy-to-use auction.
To take part in our interactive, on-line Silent Auction, click HERE.
They may never even know your name, and that's okay as long as they simply get the chance to dream.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.