Impact in Action – Joshua’s Story
I remember the day I got a note from Joshua’s Kinder teacher in 2012 – it said, “Ms. Lima take a look at this sport opportunity for children with special needs. I think Joshua would do great at baseball!” Joshua has Down Syndrome and was 5 years old back then. He was and eager and curious to learn all about sports. I was excited to see an organization create a program where my child wouldn’t be judged and be given the opportunity to grow, socialize and learn about America’s favorite pastime!
I clearly remember the first day of Miracle League – SO MANY CHILDREN! An entire community-all with a sense of belonging and family! His time to bat came up, he was paired with a buddy named Jordan. Strike 1, strike 2 and then… HE HITS!!! Mom, grandma and family goes crazy in excitement! We yell, “RUN JOSHUA, RUN!” And so he does… but straight for THIRD base not FIRST! We all laughed and said turn around, his buddy redirected him and runs to first base. The sense of accomplishment and satisfaction that Joshua had in his face is unforgettable! Tears are running down my face. When Joshua was born in 2006, we were all told he would not be able to walk, talk or do much. Ooohh how Joshua has proven them wrong!
Since 2012, Joshua has attended every season of Miracle League baseball and other sports. We started playing on the dirt field for a few years and we saw our teams, buddies and staff grow. Different abilities joined the teams, some players were in wheelchairs, walkers, crutches and then it happened. The Miracle league had a miracle of its own. After much efforts in fundraising, A NEW MIRACLE LEAGUE COMPLEX WOULD BE BUILT! One that would give all of our children the ability to participate without having accessibly issues and provide a safe place for our families to also socialize. The complex included 2 fields, a pavilion and an inclusive playground for all to enjoy. Groundbreaking day came and the community came together to celebrate!
Months later, we all had the opportunity to come to the inauguration day of the new J.E & L.E Mabee Adaptive Sports Complex. Families came together to celebrate and enjoy: inclusively.
Throughout the years at Miracle League, we have also seen the YMCA grow and support special needs families in unique ways. We have lost some of our members and we were all there to support the families. We have also gotten to know wonderful staff that has guided and given Joshua the opportunity to do so much more than just play baseball. He has participated in flag football, swimming, soccer, basketball and tennis. He has met celebrities, learned to be a team player, learned to help others when needed, be patient, focus and best of all make friends.
His buddy Jordan has become a “real buddy” in everyday life – we have stayed in touch and although he has moved on to join the ARMY, Jordan still makes time for him to send texts, visit when he comes home and goes to see him play if timing is right. The great work that the Miracle League does could not happen without the dedication of many of its volunteers, coaches, parents, staff, directors and the great community we live in!
THANKS Miracle League for helping us make UNFORGETTABLE MEMORIES WE WILL ALWAYS CHERISH!
Each year, the YMCA helps numerous families participate in the Miracle League program. To help continue these efforts, visit our give page to make a contribution.