May 2012 Edition of Dodger Magazine
Josh & Aurielle Lindblom launch their foundation to help charities in Indiana and the Dream Center in Los Angeles
Article Written By: Jorge Martin
Josh Lindblom was driving home following an offseason workout back home in his native Lafayette, Ind. when he was listening on the radio to someone making a difference. Pastor Matthew Barnett was encouraging people to follow their passions, and he noted that his passion was helping others. He went on to talk about work with an organization he launched called the Dream Center that helped people in need. When Lindblom found out it was in Los Angeles, he immediately began to research the Dream Center’s web site when he reached home.
He was startled to find the reach of the Dream Center, which offers services and programs like residential rehabilitation programs for teens and adults, a shelter for victims of human trafficking, a transitional shelter for homeless families, mobile hunger relief and medical programs and a foster care intervention outreach that works closely with Los Angeles County’s Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) to keep families intact. Programs such as adult basic education, job skills training and life skills counseling are also available to homeless families and individuals.
At the time he was doing his research, Lindblom had just finished his first season in the big leagues with the Dodgers. That was momentous enough, but he and his wife Aurielle were looking to make a difference beyond the baseball diamond. They were in the beginning stages of launching the Josh Lindblom Foundation and they started to work with charities back home. They helped with a backpack program where they distributed backpacks to underserved children in Lafayette. Now they were looking to find an organization to work with in Los Angeles.
Josh emailed the Dream Center asking how he and his wife could become involved. Within minutes he received a reply and that led to a course of action where the Lindbloms have now chosen the Dream Center as one of the charitable organizations that receive help from their “Answer the Call” program. Throughout the 2012 season, whenever Josh “answers the call” and enters a game, the Josh Lindblom Foundation will donate $52 to the Dream Center and $52 to charities in Lafayette. Through the end of April he had already appeared in 11 games. The Lindbloms also rolled up their sleeves and went to work at the Dream Center. Every Saturday the center holds a volunteer drive to go out in different neighborhoods and help. The Dream Center is the biggest food bank on the West Coast, distributing more then 1 million lbs. of food every week. On two recent Saturdays, April 14 and 28, the Lindbloms joined more than 500 volunteers in moving massive amounts of food and going into neighborhoods and distributing it to needy families.
“Until you actually dive headfirst into something and get your hands dirty, you feel the effect it has in our heart and in our lives, but you see people that you are helping out that have nowhere to go,” Josh said. “They have no one there for them and are on their own. It only took us an hour to two hours to distribute to over 250 people. These are people that show up every single Saturday. It was cool to see the relationships the people that had volunteered week in and week out. Sitting there thinking about it and reflecting on it, it is the people at the Dream Center that make it go. There are so many different volunteers and people that show up week in and week out. There are people from all over the world there on Saturday just to help this place out.”
One thing they noticed as they went out into the community was that in helping the people, some would talk to volunteers and be moved to the point that they wanted to make the leap of faith to ask for help. Since at any one time the Dream Center houses about 450 people, many of whom are in rehabilitation programs for drug and/or alcohol abuse, most days there are a few people who hop on the truck to go back to the Dream Center to seek help and begin to change their lives for the better. And those people who are living at the center are among the regular volunteers. Many people who have rehabilitated their lives come back and help others going through the same thing.
“I got there and was totally blown away,” Aurielle said. “Until you see the programs that they do and the number of people they’re impacting on a daily basis, you really start to realize how great the Dream Center is and the programs that they do.”
On April 15, Aurielle hosted a group of 25 teenagers from the Dream Center at the Dodger game. It was one of those postcard Sunday afternoons, the sun shining brightly overhead and the Dodgers winning an exciting game, 5-4. Josh even pitched in the game. These teens have been through many trials, and what the Lindbloms were doing was showing them a different side to life to give the young people an example of what their lives could be like if they put themselves in positive environments. After the game Josh brought his wife and the young people down onto the field.
“They just want your time and to have an interest in their lives and to hear about what’s going on,” Aurielle said. “A lot of the teenagers in the teen programs have never had anybody there to support them or show them love. The excitement that they had to have someone to talk to and sit with at the game, long term we’d like to develop relationships with these people and see them through the program.”
During the season, the Lindbloms plan to be regulars on Saturday afternoons at the Dream Center, and Josh will keep doing his part by taking the ball whenever possible. He knows that in trying to help the Dodgers win games that he’s going to help others.
“I’ve been blessed with an ability to play baseball, but I don’t think that my calling is going out on this field,” Josh said. “I think my calling is using the gifts that I’ve been given to affect the lives of people in a positive way. In the long run, 10, 20 years from now, when I’m retired and hopefully have had a long career, no one’s going to remember my ERA in 2012, or how many guys I struck out or the number of wins I had. They’re going to remember Josh and Aurielle Lindblom as the people that we are that want to help and we have a true desire to use what we have to help other people.”