• Charlotte group helps kids in need get in gear for baseball season

    By: Allison Latos

    Updated:

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Little League season is about to begin across our area, and one Charlotte nonprofit is making sure less-fortunate kids can enjoy the game with their own gear.

    Channel 9 went to a warehouse in Charlotte where it’s packed with boxes full of used baseball equipment that is donated by families and teams across the country.

    The founders of Turn Two For Youth, Eric Smith and Billy Owens, know firsthand how quickly kids grow out of gear by watching their sons play ball at Whittington Field in Freedom Park.

    Instead of letting equipment collect dust, they’ve been collecting it for young athletes who can’t afford their own.

    “We’ll take it and refurbish it and clean it up,” Smith said.

    For nearly eight years, Turn Two For Youth has been distributing tons of refurbished equipment to teams in Turks and Caicos, the Dominican Republic, South Africa, Cuba and Europe. And they’re also helping kids in the U.S.

    [DONATE: Turn Two For Youth]

    “We’ve helped with the storms in Houston as a backfill to lost gear there. Some of the fire-damaged areas in California. We’ve worked with LAPD with their inner-city program,” Owens said.

    The world’s largest baseball coaches association honored the nonprofit with this year’s Meritorious Service Award.

    But Smith and Owens said their work isn’t for the recognition. They want to help coaches worldwide have a positive impact on kids, teaching them the sport of baseball and, more importantly, teaching them about life.

    “Its really (about) trying to put a child in the hands of a mentor,” Smith said.

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