Miracle Field of Dreams
Miracle League of Santa Rosa County, Inc.
The Miracle League of Santa Rosa County (Miracle League) was formed in July 2017 for charitable purposes to provide a safe and organized baseball league for the mentally and physically challenged members of the community, to promote community support and sponsorship, and to construct and maintain special facilities that meet the unique needs of Miracle League players and their families. This models the national Miracle League motto: “Every Child Deserves a Chance to Play Baseball”. The all-volunteer board is comprised of many of the organizers of the extremely successful Night to Shine, which provides an unforgettable prom night experience for people with special needs. Additionally, there are currently 450 background-checked volunteers and Miracle League is actively recruiting more. The current focus of Miracle League is recruiting volunteers and fundraising for operating costs of maintaining the baseball league. The organization has also initiated a public awareness campaign to inform the area of the impending Miracle League field in an effort to garner community support and awareness.
The Miracle League of Santa Rosa County seeks IMPACT 100 funding for infrastructure to build an adaptive field and maintain a baseball league for physically and mentally challenged members of the community. The organization has worked closely with the Santa Rosa Board of County Commissioners from the inception of the idea. The Commissioners have committed the $350,000 required for the construction of the field at Tiger Point Park in Santa Rosa County, as well as ongoing maintenance of the field. IMPACT 100 funds will be used to purchase a scoreboard, pre-fabricated specialized dugouts with wrap around shade, team benches, spectator bleachers with shades, foul poles, an audio system, and a mascot signature sculpture. These items will not be provided by Santa Rosa County, but are crucial to completing the field, which Miracle League expects to be completed in the Spring of 2019. The addition of these items to the field will give the special needs players a complete baseball experience.
Although there is a successful Miracle League in Northeast Pensacola, the transportation challenges of this target population hinder participation for those in Santa Rosa and some parts of Escambia Counties. Miracle League of Santa Rosa County has determined that there are currently only two south Santa Rosa County residents who are able to participate in the Miracle League established in Northeast Pensacola. One goal of the Miracle League field is to provide additional activities so that the special needs population can be involved in the community, know the love of playing a sport and hear the cheers from the crowd. Tiger Point Park, already a lively hub of community activity, would include the Miracle League players in regular, already-occurring sports activities, allowing them to feel even more valued by their neighbors. Miracle League will not only impact the special needs population but through its use of the “buddy” system of pairing able-bodied individuals with those who have special needs, this project will impact members in the community who do not have special needs by creating new friendships and teaching them to reach out to those who are different. One Miracle League field holds the promise of hundreds of lives being affected for the greater good, year after year. By providing a place where everyone can play together, laugh together and learn together, inclusion becomes a part of the everyday lives of people in the community.