Positive change comes in all shapes and sizes. For this 27 year old minor league baseball player, it came when he started helping other people. A pet project in his garage, Vance began what he calls, “Gloves 4 Troops” after reading an article about what the troops need most over in Afghanistan. “If we just had a ball and two gloves,” the article quoted, “then we could spend the off time playing catch.”

“I certainly can't imagine being in a war situation," Vance says, "but I can relate and I think everyone can, to at some point in your life being away from home, being lonely or feeling homesick.”

Vance started playing professional ball for the Cardinals 5 years ago as a second base man and shortstop. He quickly moved up the latter and signed with the Angels. His stats are impressive for such a young player but what you’ll notice most if you Google his name are all the write ups for Gloves for Troops, describing his “Big League Heart.”

"I wanted to do something tangible. These people are putting their lives on the line defending our freedom so I can go out and be free to do what I want and play baseball for a living." Says Vance.

He first started his project by gathering every spare glove he could find in his garage. His teammates caught wind of what he was doing and donated several more. Vance’s dad helped restring the gloves in need of repair. It started small until the National Baseball league posted an article online about what he was doing. After that people started writing in wanting to donate too. Vance came up with a plan, $20 and he would mail out 2 gloves and a ball to a troop with a note that thanked them for their service. He set a goal of 1000 gloves by the end of his off-season. After the article, his goal was met and almost doubled.

Since the start of this side project, Vance has mailed out over 3000 gloves to troops, getting large donations from companies like Wilson and Mizuno. Every state in the US has contributed either gloves or a donation. ESPN wrote an article congratulating him on his success.

“To me, playing catch means going outside with my dad or going to the field with my brother.” Vance says, “It represents happiness and it’s nice to give that feeling back to someone else.”

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About the currency project

The Currency Project challenges us all to see the beauty through the pain, the positive that can come from a negative and the heartbreak that can turn into a new beginning. Life is uncertain but our faith, hope and love can never be taken from us. Our true currency in life is what we make it.