A 17-year-old Mountlake Terrace High School student from Edmonds has set out on an extraordinary adventure that combines his passion for baseball with a mission to help those in need.
Ryan Sturgill, who plays on the MTHS varsity baseball team, and his family will visit all 30 Major League Baseball stadiums across the nation in six weeks. Sturgill and his parents have been planning the journey, the “Baseball Fan Grand Slam,” for over 18 months.
The home run-a-thon, Home Runs for Housing, was born out of Ryan Sturgill’s deep sense of gratitude and compassion for others, said his mother, Heather Sturgill.
Recognizing that most families could only dream of such an undertaking, he decided to turn his once-in-a-lifetime opportunity into a vehicle for positive change. Through his campaign, Ryan said he hopes to make a tangible impact on the lives of those who are currently struggling to stay afloat due to unforeseen circumstances.
“It’s an incredible privilege to be able to take this trip of a lifetime and visit all 30 MLB stadiums in one summer,” Ryan said. “But I couldn’t help but think about those who are facing difficulty. Many employees are going through tough situations, and I wanted to do something to support them during these challenging times.”
Ryan is working in collaboration with Wellspring Family Services, a nonprofit human service agency that provided COVID relief services in Edmonds and elsewhere — and that Heather Sturgill leads as president and CEO — Ryan has set up a donation campaign to raise funds for the struggling employees. The campaign can be accessed at baseballfangrandslam.com/home-runs-for-housing.
Why the focus on employee homelessness? The fundraising website explains that most people picture someone who is homeless as “an adult male in need of a shower, with visible evidence of an addiction or other mental health disorder, living in a tent on a city street.” Yet, “this is actually a relatively small subset (about 16%) of U.S. residents who experience homelessness on any given night.” Instead, the website adds most people experiencing homelessness are typically low income and living paycheck to paycheck, with young children in their household.
From the website:
“For most people, homelessness happens because they have no financial reserves and experience a financial emergency. Maybe their car broke down, or they missed work due to illness, or a family member passed away unexpectedly. While more than 60% of the U.S. population lives paycheck to paycheck, most of those individuals could borrow money from a parent or friend, move home with family, sell something or take on debt. However, at least 11% of the population could not pay the expense by any means. When these households experience a financial emergency, they often lose their housing.
‘Once an employee is homeless, it is extremely difficult for that employee to get help. Most government-funded programs are designed to serve the needs of people with no income. Employees literally make too much money to qualify for help, even when they are living in their car with their family.”
Ryan Sturgill said that throughout his journey, he will be documenting his experiences and sharing them. Supporters and baseball enthusiasts can follow his posts and updates on the trip through his social media platforms at linktr.ee/baseballfangrandslam.
For every home run the Sturgill family sees during their trip around the country, Home Runs for Housing will generate over $350 for employees at risk of homelessness. Sturgill’s goal is to raise $2,000 in pledges for every home run the family sees.
The Sturgills’ visit starts with the Dodgers on July 25 and concludes on Sept. 12 at T-Mobile Park to see the Mariners.
To find out more about the “Baseball Fan Grand Slam” campaign and to contribute to the cause, visit baseballfangrandslam.com/home-runs-for-housing.