Miracle League’s Holiday Wish: Boundless Playground

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By: Marisa Gottesman Associate Editor
In baseball it’s been said if you build it they will come. Well, Julia Kadel and her husband Jeff did build the Miracle League of Palm Beach County and kids did come to play ball.
Now, Kadel said she is ready to add a boundless playground to Robert P. Miller Park for kids to be able to play on and hang out while waiting for their turn to hit the synthetic rubber turf.
The 11-year-old league is designed to make baseball a sport that everyone can play. The field is wheelchair accessible and the bags are painted on the field. Buddies team up with players to help them bat and run the bases.
“We cater to kids who sit on the sidelines,” Kadel said. “Now, they are sitting on the sidelines. I just want to have a beautiful area that is inclusive.”
The current playground at the park is not accessible for kids who use wheelchairs or walkers. Kadel said she wants to change that by replacing the current set with a boundless one.
“We are here from 1 p.m. to 7 or 8 p.m.,” she said. “A lot of our kids can’t play on this.”
Miracle League parent Dawn Doran said her son Joshua can’t play on the playground. She said her 10-year-old has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair so it is hard to navigate the playground and for him to go down the slide or on the swings.
“Even when he was little to bring him to a playground was difficult,” she said. “I couldn’t just put him in a swing or down a slide.”
That meant her son often had to watch other kids play while he was on the side.
“When you have kids you want the best for them,” Doran said. “You want them to do everything a child should do. For there to be a modified playground it would make a huge difference in the life of a child with a disability.”
Knowing what a difference a new, boundless playground would make to the Miracle League players, Kadel said she went to the city and asked if they would be able to help.
She said she was told here was no money in the budget to add a new playground. But that didn’t stop her. She said she solicited several quotes and plans to fundraise for the playground. The playground will likely cost between $150,000 and $200,000, according to solicitations she received.
Fundraising is something Kadel is familiar with. To build the field, she had to raise $500,000. The city kicked in $10,000 to get the program running. The nonprofit relies on donations, sponsors and fundraising events.
The latest fundraiser “Dinner on the Diamond” raised $55,000 to pay for lights on the field. Kadel said the lights should be installed for spring ball. She hopes to add two more teams of young adults, over the age of 19, to play at night. That would bring the league to a total of eight baseball teams and a cheerleading squad.
She said during her research she learned that Delray doesn’t have a boundless playground in the city.
“It could be another destination,” she said, adding it would give the Miracle League players a place to play while waiting for their game to start.
Save the date:
The second annual Boundless Dreams Dinner on the Diamond will take place on Feb. 25 from 6 to 10 p.m. at the Miracle League Field.
There will be an auction, dancing and dinner. Funds raised will benefit the Miracle League.
For more information visit miracleleaguepalmbeachcounty.com or call Julia Kadel, 561-414-4441.