CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Cincinnati Reds players and city officials will dedicate a pavilion Wednesday morning for the Miracle League Field located at the Dunham Recreation Complex in Western Hills.
The field now provides children with disabilities a safe and permanent home for the Miracle League of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.
Geralyn Holbrook brought her four year-old son Hunter to the complex which she says is a blessing. "I think this is amazing. I'm so happy and fortunate to have a program like this that I can bring my son to and he can be part of something so wonderful.
Nana Lamb of Finneytown says inclusion is very important for her 11 year-old granddaughter Olivia. "It gives them a chance to be like any other child. Everybody gets to bat. Everybody gets to run bases and nobody's ever out."
The synthetic turf field was completed in April 2009 with a dedication ceremony and Miracle League game on May 9, 2010.
Thirty one year old Adam Ayers, who works for the Cincinnati Recreation Commission, says he played adaptive baseball on grass fields as a child. "I know what sports have meant to me in my life as a person with a disability and its nice to provide that opportunity for these kids to help them and have sports be a big part of their lives as it was for me."
Unique features of the complex include covered dugouts, an adjacent pavilion with handicap accessible restrooms and easy access to Dunham's new Otto Armleder Memorial Regional Aquatic Complex.
For more than 20 years, the Cincinnati Recreation Commission's Division of Therapeutic Recreation has operated an Adapted Baseball League, which joined the nationally renowned Miracle League in 2004.
The national association is made up of communities across the country that sponsor baseball programs for children with disabilities and believes that every child deserves a chance to play baseball.
Currently there are 200 Miracle League organizations across the country with 100 completed rubberized fields and 100 fields under construction. The Miracle League is proud to serve over 80,000 children and young adults with disabilities.
Reds pitcher Aaron Harang was present at the Miracle Field groundbreaking ceremony and field dedication in May 2009. Aaron and his wife donated $62,500 to the Miracle League field.
This innovative program offers athletes the chance to have fun, as well as participate in an organized and competitive league. Every effort is made to create a "true" baseball experience with minimal changes. Volunteers (both children and adults) are recruited to provide on-field assistance for the athletes as needed.
This helps promote positive interactions among children with and without disabilities.