Kids who might not be able to run the bases on their own are once again able to participate in America’s favorite pastime, thanks to a new accessible field for The Miracle League in Greenwood, South Carolina.
The Miracle League, a baseball league for children with disabilities, kicked off its 12th season Saturday on a new field at the Burton Center in Greenwood. More than 75 players, all with special needs that would prevent them from participating in a typical league, were on hand to play ball. The season almost didn’t happen. When heat and water damaged their field beyond repair, the organization canceled games last year. Moving was not an option – players using wheelchairs, walkers or crutches depend on a special rubberized surface to maneuver the field.
“Due to the condition of the field, our players missed the fall baseball season,” said Amy Ashley at Miracle League. “We know how much the children love baseball, so we reached out to our local community for help. Ascend Cares quickly contacted us about wanting to fund and build a new field.”
Volunteers from the Ascend Cares Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization funded and led by Ascend Performance Materials employees, removed the tattered old field in June as a part of the company’s Global Day of Caring, an annual volunteer event where team members from around the world give back to their communities. Ascend Cares also contributed $60,000 toward the cost of rebuilding. Volunteers are excited to see the children back on the field, including Bubba Davenport, a supply chain manager at Ascend who led the effort for Ascend Cares.
While Ascend Cares funds and volunteers for many causes in the community, this one was personal, Davenport said. “One of our employees has a family member that plays on a Miracle League team, so we know what a huge difference this experience can make in the life of a kid,” he said. “This project supports our community as well as our own Ascend family.” Ascend Cares and Miracle League will continue to partner together as they make a difference in the community. “Children’s health and safety is one of our passions at Ascend Cares,” said Rachell Gold, executive director of the Ascend Cares Foundation. “Being able to get these children back to playing their favorite sport is important for the players, their families, local communities and everyone involved in this project.”