Fundraisers set for Laurel Highlands Miracle League
By Nancy Henry
Published: Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013, 6:14 p.m.
The Miracle League of Pennsylvania's Laurel Highlands recently completed its second successful season with an awards banquet and end-of-the-season party in the social hall next to their field at Bailey Park.
“The end of our season really ushers in a period of fundraising for the league. We are still fundraising toward the same goal we have been fundraising toward for the last several years, creating the first official Miracle League Field in the area typically defined as the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania — Fayette, Somerset, and Westmoreland counties. We have a field in Uniontown's Bailey Park and we have already started some basic improvements there including new dugouts. We have worked extensively on the infield to make the field more level. Our work is part of the city's larger designs for Bailey Park and the finished product is still a few years away. The City of Uniontown has been a fantastic partner for us. We're really on the right path to making our field project a reality and we have the city to thank for much of our progress,” said Joshua Scully, a three-year volunteer with MLPLH and member of its board of directors.
Fundraising efforts have included two tickets to each regular season Pittsburgh Steelers home game drawn on the Pennsylvania Lottery. This is the second year for this fundraiser and the effort has been very successful.
The next big fundraiser will be the Third Annual 5K, the Miracle Bunny Trail Run and Walk which is tentatively scheduled for Saturday, April 12, 2014. The MLPLH 5K events in the past have been very well attended and have experienced quite a bit of growth from the first one in 2012 to the second one held this year.
“Our league has also benefited from countless dedicated volunteers, parents, and players. Our league president, Jessilyn Holp, has been invaluable to us. This is her first year in this capacity, although she had volunteered and served on our board of directors in the past, and I don't know that we have another individual involved with the league right now who has been so ardent or astute as Jessilyn has with the management of the league,” said Scully.
The league has been able to continue to provide the opportunity for children with special needs to play baseball thanks to sponsors as well, especially Chestnut Ridge Counseling Services, Vitalink, and the Fayette Behavioral Health Administration
“These organizations have done so much for the league on and off the field over the last several years that I couldn't imagine how we would be where we are right now without their help. Vitalink, for example, has been so much more than just a sponsor to us — they have provided a great deal of our online support and presence during our recent period of growth and outreach. Chestnut Ridge and the Fayette Behavioral Health Administration have provided meeting space for our league officers, helped us obtain grants, and have shared personnel with us as volunteers. However, what's important to me, as a member of the board of directors and someone who has watched the league grow in so many new ways over the last few years, is the influx of new sponsors. Neubauer's Flowers of Uniontown, Z's Ground Control of Uniontown, the United Mine Workers of America, and Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau have created a new wave of support. These organizations came to us, a good indicator that presence in this region is growing and others are taking notice of our function and goals. These three sponsors have also been supportive especially of our efforts with our field at Bailey Park,” said Scully.
In addition to sponsoring the league, Z's Ground Control, which is a local lawn care provider, shows up each Sunday to make sure the grass at the field is cut knowing that it is important to make sure the field is especially safe for the players and that the playing surfaces, both infield and outfield, are level with no rough transitions or muddy areas.
Other organizations have helped in unique ways. Volunteers from the Bethel Baptist Church of Uniontown have helped with the concession stand each week and Fastsigns of Uniontown helped the league with many of its printing needs. The Sons of Italy of Uniontown holds a spaghetti dinner on the first and third Wednesdays of every month. They set out a tip jar for the servers which is then generously donated, resulting in hundreds of dollars for MLPLH.
“Ultimately, we hope that our field will be redone with a rubberized surface, accompanied by handicap accessible restrooms, a press box, and a new concession stand. The work on the restrooms, press box, and concession stand is expected to begin soon and we hope to have these features in place for next season,” said Scully.
A handful of Little League and softball teams also use the field throughout the year.
For more information or to donate to this organization go to www.mlplh.org.
Nancy Henry is a contributing writer.
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