Evan Arnold is a 14-year-old high school freshman from Neenah, Wisconsin, and the founder of a goodwill initiative called Step Up To The Plate. Through this organization, Evan provides baseball equipment to children in need around the U.S. and around the world. Since starting his organization, Evan has shipped and/or delivered more than $12,000 worth of equipment to entities (schools, orphanages, youth centers, churches, refugee camps) serving at-risk youth.
Children in the United States and around the world love baseball. However, many boys and girls do not have appropriate equipment to play the game. In some parts of the U.S. and in many countries, children use rolled-up cloth, tied plastic strips, or tape as baseballs, and use tree branches, table legs, or metal poles as bats. Cardboard, plastic jugs, and work gloves are used as baseball gloves. Many do not have shoes, and play barefooted on dirt or gravel. Evan’s initiative provides new and/or gently used equipment to allow kids to play the game they love.
Evan collects new and/or gently used baseball equipment (balls, gloves, bats, cleats, bases, helmets). He then finds entities around the world that are seeking such equipment to enable kids to play baseball (and avoid dangerous activities such as drugs and violence). These children are generally 5 to 18 years old, and are served by churches, schools, orphanages, youth centers, etc. He makes contact with a director at that entity, and then ships the equipment or, in the case of some U.S. projects, hand-delivers the boxes.
Evan is making Step Up To The Plate sustainable by providing visibility to his initiative and to the cause of children in need through his Facebook page. He also is pursuing grants that will allow him to maintain an appropriate inventory of equipment for dispersal. He is also maintaining relationships with key contacts at entities in order to determine future needs.
Evan started his Step Up To The Plate initiative in 2009. He began by completing three to five projects per year for the first several years of the organization’s existence. Over the past two years, he has greatly accelerated the reach and scope of the effort. In 2013, he completed 16 projects. In 2014, he is averaging two completed projects per month.
Evan has completed 42 projects to date. Recipients of those projects have been able to start youth sports programs or expand existing programs. These programs have provided a positive outlet for boys and girls. His work is also inspiring his friends in Neenah, Wisconsin, to perform volunteer work or consider starting personal volunteer initiatives.
Evan is an incredibly caring individual. At the age of 14, he is focused on others, instead of himself. He is driven to provide the opportunity to play and be a kid. That is something that is taken for granted, but in many parts of America and many parts of the world, is missing. When kids do not have a positive outlet, the outcome is activities that are harmful to the child, to the community, and to the world. Evan stands up for others.
Visit Step Up To The Plate for more information.