Miracle League of Coastal Alabama: From Benchwarmers to Superstars
No one wants to be a benchwarmer, sitting and watching while others play. Thanks to Miracle League, special needs kids and adults no longer need be benchwarmers! At the soon-to-be finished Miracle League Park Summer- dale, Baldwin County children with special needs will get off the sidelines and join in the fun. With the help from a 2018 Impact 100 grant, new playground equipment will soon be installed.
The park, when complete, will include a special needs baseball field and playground that will allow special needs families and the community to play together. Included in the park will be a zip line, wheelchair swing, and a big pavilion with picnic tables for parties and gatherings designed to be as inclusive as possible.
The idea is to draw the community to a ball field and have able-bodied people work as buddies with the special needs kids. This effort will get local civic organizations, student teams and groups together, fostering relationships between the special needs community and the rest of the population.
The town of Summerdale donated 10 acres, and the site will be ready soon for the installation of the playground equipment. The Miracle League will continue to raise funds, as the park cannot open until the infrastructure (i.e., parking, walkways) is finished. This will hopefully be complete within one and a half years.
According to Bruce White, president of Miracle League of Coastal Ala- bama, “We’ve had four grants in the $100K range. Grants like these make the project happen. This (Impact 100) grant, along with others, allowed us to move forward. The effect is tremendous; it gives us something for the people to see and assures them that we are going to complete it.”
Having a child with special needs, parents are familiar with their children being left out of certain activities, making a challenging situation even more difficult. When they are able to participate in typical play activities, it brightens days for those children, their parents, siblings, and the general community—and the smiles never stop!
For these children and their parents, the ability to fully participate is invaluable. When the park is finished, these children will feel like superstars!
The Miracle League of Coastal Alabama, Inc. was first organized in 2004 under the guidelines of The National Miracle League. Its mission is to provide disabled children and adults with recreational opportunities such as baseball fields, playgrounds, and other special equipment that meets their unique needs. There are 300 Miracle League Parks in the U.S. with the nearest in Pensacola.