Through Compassion International, Veteran Coach Sees Hope in Dominican Republic Communities Plagued by Poverty
COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO. — With over 30 years coaching major league baseball, newly named New York Mets bench coach Dave Jauss and his wife Billie, along with over 40 professional athletes and national leaders, have joined the Fill The Stadium initiative to help save children in crisis in the developing world during the COVID-19 pandemic with Compassion International.
Shortly before COVID interrupted spring training last season, the Jausses traveled with Compassion International to see programs they helped launch in the Dominican Republic. Dave Jauss has coached eight seasons of winter league baseball, notably winning the Caribbean World Series in 1999 and twice being named coach of the year.
“We visited the same communities where we had lived and coached for years. But the young girls and women in Compassion’s program had something in their eyes we had not often seen before – real hope” said Dave Jauss.
“While living in the Dominican Republic, we were heartbroken by the abject poverty all around. We saw boys chase the hope of professional baseball as a way out, while girls had no such opportunity and little support for education,” added Billie Jauss.
This past winter the Jausses returned to the Dominican for the winter ball season. They were shocked by the unemployment and food insecurity caused by the lack of tourism during the pandemic. “Teaming up with Compassion International’s Fill The Stadium was an easy decision for Billie and me,” explained Dave Jauss. “The initiative is providing much-needed assistance at a time when children need it the most.”
Compassion International’s Fill The Stadium has a clear goal: to provide life-saving aid to 70,000 children in Compassion International’s programs who missed out on relief this year due to gaps of support created by the COVID-19 crisis. The target of 70,000 is the average capacity of pro-football stadiums in America. Fill The Stadium leaders hope that fans who typically would have spent money on professional sports games this year—but couldn’t—choose instead to support children and their families at risk of starvation.
Fill The Stadium team leaders—Santiago “Jimmy” Mellado, CEO and president of Compassion International, and Steve Stenstrom, president of Pro Athletes Outreach—have already received vital assistance from 40 standout including Nick Foles, professional football MVP quarterback; Adam Engel of the Chicago White Sox; Nick Ahmed of the Arizona Diamondbacks; Alyssa Naeher of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team; Carson Palmer, former professional quarterback; Devin and Jason McCourty, defensive backs of New England; Nate Solder of the New York Giants; Jaccob Slavin of the Carolina Hurricanes; Brock Huard, FOX Sports Broadcaster and former professional quarterback, and many others.
The Fill The Stadium team notes that $500 will help provide 12 months of life-saving food, nutritional supplements, hygiene essentials, and COVID-19 medical screenings for children and families in crisis. The cost is approximately the same amount most Americans would spend for a family of four to attend a pro-football game.
So far, the initiative has “filled” over 47,500 seats — continuing their commitment and leadership — on their way to the goal of helping 70,000 children. In this era of coronavirus, “We are all experiencing the reality of empty stadiums,” says the Fill The Stadium team. “It’s why this effort so desperately needs a caring, prayerful and thoughtful community to join together in this needed relief.”
Founded in 1952,Compassion International is a Christian child development organization that works to release children from poverty in Jesus’ name. Compassion revolutionized the fight against global poverty by working exclusively with the Church to lift children out of spiritual, economic, social and physical poverty. Compassion partners with more than 8,000 churches in 25 countries to deliver its holistic child development program to over 2 million babies, children and young adults. Its child sponsorship program has been validated through independent, empirical research.