Our last blog post was all about the Miracle League, from its mission to its history and the essential information about the organization. This article is all about the experience some of our own family had with their local Miracle League, and how it felt to be a part of it.
To ensure the players have the best experience possible, local Miracle Leagues rely on volunteers. The Miracle League of the Langham Creek YMCA in Houston is no different. To help find new participants and drive awareness, they reach out to local schools, training centers and local churches, which is where our family’s involvement begins. Our designer Sharon’s (our co-founder Carol's sister) family heard about the Miracle League through their church, and immediately wanted to get involved.
Miracle League volunteers become "buddies" for the players. Buddies are paired with a player, and help them to run the bases, to bat or to field the ball. Players may even have more than one buddy, depending on their needs. Buddies are essential to the Miracle League's success, and their training reflects it. Each volunteer learns how to best work with disabled kids to ensure they're the best buddies they can be. This 1 ½ hour course is adapted from Special Olympics’ renowned training.
Even with this training, people can be uneasy about being a buddy. However, any nervousness Sharon's family had was instantly overcome by their uplifting experience. Being a buddy meant they all had a front-row seat to the pure joy of the players. Every child who plays is filled with excitement, with smiles stretched from ear-to-ear. As their buddy, you're right there helping that happen. What could be more satisfying or rewarding than that?
Sharon's family were also struck by how much the Miracle League meant to the parents of the players. The parents are naturally involved with the buddies, to make sure they know the child's specific needs. However, once the game begins, the parent's get a rare opportunity to relax. For once, they can simply sit back and watch their children have fun playing a game. The buddies aren't only providing the players with an amazing day; they're doing the same for the parents.
The connection between the Langham Creek Miracle League and HDS Medallion didn’t stop with our family volunteering, either. Imagine the pleasant surprise when they noticed one of the players sporting an HDS Medallion CarryAll bag on her walker! They told her their Grandma was the designer, and their Great-Grandma was the "HDS" in HDS Medallion. She told them she loved her walker bag. When we heard about her Zebra Daisy Dot Pink Walker Bag, we remembered her right away. She and her family had purchased the bag at the Houston Abilities Expo. She lit up the event so much we had to take a picture! She's the smiling face you see pictured above.
Over 150 kids participated in the Fall season of the Miracle League at Langham Creek YMCA, and they're hoping to have even more in the spring. That gives you an idea of just how many lives you can impact by volunteering! Sharon's family is planning to come back for the Spring season, and you can too. To find out more, contact Kendra Williams, Director of Adaptive Programs at the Langham Creek YMCA. You can reach her by phone at (281) 859-6143, or by email at email@example.com.
Want to get involved in the Miracle League as a volunteer or to have your disabled child participate, but don't live in the Houston area? To find a Miracle League near you, contact Stephanie Davis at the Miracle League corporate office at (770) 760-1933 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Located in Connecticut, home of HDS Medallion? You'll be pleased to know there's a league located in West Hartford. You can find out more information by visiting MiracleLeagueCT.org.
We hope you enjoyed these two features on the Miracle League as much as we enjoyed writing them. This is truly a great organization, and we're thrilled to help raise awareness for all that they do. We encourage everyone to get involved. Our family loved it, and so will yours!