Turn Two For Youth to receive 2018 ABCA Meritorious Service Award

Turn Two for YouthFor their commitment to improving the game of baseball around the world, Turn Two for Youth is the recipient of the American Baseball Coaches Association’s 2018 Meritorious Service Award. Turn Two for Youth, a non-profit charitable organization that collects and distributes baseball equipment to children in need, is the official charity of the American Baseball Coaches Association.

The Meritorious Service Award is presented to a person or organization that has done significant service for amateur baseball and the ABCA, and whose actions and involvement have resulted in a notable impact on the sport. Service may include years of participation, administration, contribution, innovation, or exposure/advancement of amateur baseball through media coverage. The Meritorious Service Award will be presented during the ABCA/Diamond Kinetics Honors Luncheon on Jan. 6, 2018 at the ABCA Convention.

Turn Two for Youth was created by two baseball families on a mission to facilitate the enjoyment and expansion globally of youth baseball and softball. What started as a grass roots effort in North Carolina has quickly spread to communities throughout the United States and around the globe.

While on a family vacation in the Turks and Caicos, co-founders Billy Owens and Eric Smith learned of a local youth baseball team whose players didn’t have the equipment they needed to play. They were sharing torn-up gloves and making due with makeshift equipment. The two men, feeling that every child should have their own glove, decided to do something about it.

Owens and Smith organized a grassroots collection drive in their hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina, collecting bats, gloves, uniforms, catcher’s equipment, batting tees and an assortment of other baseball necessities at local leagues and schools. They then shipped a full container (the size of a tractor trailer bay) filled with approximately 3,200 pounds worth of equipment back to the struggling team.

That grassroots campaign became the model for the non-profit organization. Turn Two for Youth now collects gear throughout the United States from teams, coaches, players and families, all who want to give back to the game they love. The equipment is cleaned, refurbished and then shipped to credible organizations for distribution.

In November of 2016, Turn Two for Youth was officially announced as the Official Charity of the American Baseball Coaches Association. Since its partnership, Turn Two for Youth has collected over four tons of baseball equipment through the generosity of coaches, players and parents. Within the last three months, seven collection drives around the United States have yielded over 60 boxes of gear that are being prepared for shipping to the Turn Two for Youth warehouse.

Last month, Turn Two for Youth completed a campaign focused on delivering a full, 20-foot cargo shipping container of bats, gloves, helmets, cleats and uniforms to the Dominican Republic which was hit hard by recent storms. In partnership with Major League Baseball, the gear will be distributed through MLB en la Comunidad, Major League Baseball’s newest initiative that aims to use baseball’s popularity as a vehicle to impact the Dominican Republic through community outreach programs. The programs promote positive play, education, civic pride, environmental awareness and humanitarian values.

One large annual collection drive sponsored by the Chicago Southland Convention and Visitors Bureau will conclude later this month. The Bureau there oversees individual drives in the community, working with professional, collegiate and youth teams to conduct smaller drives and promote donations. Last year’s result yielded six skids of gear, most of which will be shipped directly to communities in the Gulf Coast area which were impacted by recent hurricanes.

Turn Two for Youth also helps prepare and distribute shipments of equipment to youth in underserved communities in partnership with dozens of Police Athletic Leagues (PAL), whose mission is to promote the prevention of juvenile crime and violence by building relationships among kids, police officers and community through positive engagement.

All the gear collected has reached thousands of kids domestically and internationally making the game of baseball affordable to baseball families who might not have been able to participate otherwise. The average cost of outfitting a child to play the game is around $350, but Turn Two for Youth can outfit a child for just $35.

In addition to its partnership with the American Baseball Coaches Association, Turn Two for Youth has established a network of wonderful partners including Major League Baseball, Miracle League, various ministries and independent coaches.

Turn Two for Youth website
Donate to Turn Two for Youth
Past Meritorious Service Award recipients