The Miracle League of Connecticut is best known for their baseball field; made with a rubberized surface that is fully wheelchair accessible.
It’s the first of its kind in New England. But the league is more than just baseball now, with adapted swim lessons, the iCan bike summer day camp, lacrosse, and fun holiday events. The program also continues to grow and expand.
“I’ve done lots of things, like the trick or treating, the baseball and now this the lacrosse.. it's my second day doing it,” explains sixth grader, Jordan Kates.
Kids in West Hartford are enjoying their second weekend of learning lacrosse with volunteer buddies to help them out from East Catholic High School.
For children like Michaela Ellington from Windsor and Jordan Kates from West Hartford, these events make a huge impact, both physically and emotionally.
“They get exposed to things that they would usually just sit and watch other kids do which they really want to participate. It gives her confidence it gives her strength.. having to walk around the field stand up longer,” explains Michaela's mom, Debbie-Ann.
For baseball season more than 100 kids have participated, coming from 40 cities and towns throughout New England.
Without physical and social barriers the kids get to experience the joy and triumph of team sports in their purest form.
Mike Michaud, the director of Miracle League is hoping to expand and add other similar parks and programs throughout the state and New England region.
“They get to meet a lot of new kids who are in similar situations to them and so many new friendships have developed out of this family friendships.. it's been great.”
“This is the kinda program that really helps me feel good and have a lot of fun. It gets me out in the fresh air, I get to exercise, meet cool new people…
it's just a lot of fun,” says Jordan.
The league relies heavily on volunteers like the East Catholic lacrosse team to help out the young athletes. Volunteer Kylie Callahan says, “It’s just really nice to teach them and see how happy they are when they're playing.”
Lacrosse player Natalie Healey agrees, “when they like first catch the ball you're trying to do it and when they make that first make that catch they get really excited about it -- makes me feel pretty good that I helped them achieve that.”
Sports and team play is an experience that every child needs, explains Mike Michaud, “ It gives them a chance to be part of a team and come out on a Sunday like all their friends do and go to their game, I can't tell you how many parents say the excitement of being able to say they're going to jimmy's game... because they thought they might never have that opportunity.”
You don't have to live in West Hartford, Hartford county or even Connecticut take part in the Miracle League events. Anyone from anywhere is welcome, as long as they can get to the field.
If you have a child who would want to be part of the fun, or if you'd like to volunteer-- they're always looking for volunteers. Click here for more information.