Every year, the New Orleans Saints football team shows off their softball skills in front of the whole city to support philanthropic efforts in the community. COVID-19 has greatly impacted our city, the economy, and especially the nonprofit community for the majority of this year. It has been a year of adjusting to change and overcoming struggles, but one thing is for sure: New Orleans continues to come out strong when we come together as a family.
During the month of October, two nonprofits, Team Gleason and Son of a Saint, will work with the New Orleans Saints team once again to raise funds for these nonprofits, while also having some much-needed fun. With social distancing guidelines in place, these organizations invite you to participate in the virtual Black and Gold Dizzy Bat Challenge. This simple challenge requires you to grab a friend, a bat (or whatever you have at home), and a phone with a video camera to participate. Using your item, spin around five times, then try to take 10 steps in a straight line. Post the video of yourself doing the challenge to Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, nominate three friends, and tag @TeamGleason, @Sonofasaint, and #DizzyBatChallenge to show your support.
Everyone is encouraged to make an impact by donating $10, but it is not required. All donations will benefit Son of a Saint and Team Gleason. This virtual challenge for all is a great way to bring the community together and to raise funds for two important New Orleans nonprofits. Participate in the fun #DizzyBatChallenge and help reach the goal of $20,000.
Every year, the Son of a Saint foundation selects a group of boys aged 10-12 who are fatherless to join the existing kids in their program. The organization provides the boys with the tools they need to be productive men: They provide a secure and consistent environment, and most of all, they provide the boys with an example by giving them a role model. The boys have a mentee until the age of 21, but the connections remain forever. The organization's goal is to graduate as self-sufficient, independent thinkers who are leaders and give back to their community.
Steve Gleason played for the New Orleans Saints from 2000-2008. His most memorable play will always be his blocking a punt the night the Louisiana Superdome reopened for the first time after Hurricane Katrina. In 2011, the adventurous athlete was diagnosed with ALS, a terminal neuromuscular disease. Steve and his wife Michel founded Team Gleason as a way for Steve to show other ALS patients that they can not only live, but thrive after their diagnosis. Steve has had so much support from the community, the Saints, and the nation over the last nine years. He has had great success in overseeing the process of creating innovative assistive technology, as well as in getting acts passed by the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate.