Miracle League of Arizona expands programs in Scottsdale

A view of the Miracle League of Arizona in action in north Scottsdale. (Submitted photo)

A view of the Miracle League of Arizona in action in north Scottsdale. (Submitted photo)

Not all of us were born on the same playing field.

There are both children and adults who cannot participate in the simple joys of the world around us, but for a few days a week the Miracle League of Arizona makes sure all children — and now their adult counterparts — have the opportunity to discover the joy of baseball, camaraderie and friendship.

The Miracle League of Arizona is a nonprofit organization in north Scottsdale, dedicated to providing a safe, successful and enjoyable baseball experience for children, teens and adults with disabilities or special health care needs.

Baseball is just the magnet that brings people with special needs together, according to Miracle League of Arizona Executive Director Dan Haren Sr.

“A lot of times these kids are kind of left out of certain things,” Mr. Haren said in a Nov. 23 phone interview. “There are not a lot of teams they can join and it sometimes is hard for them to make friends. Baseball is only the magnet that brings these people together.”

The goal, Mr. Haren contends, is to give both children and adults the opportunity to experience genuine, friendship and a team spirit.

“We want them to feel like any other kid playing baseball,” he pointed out.
“When the kids come out they feel like they are included and they are the No. 1 priority. These places are meant just for our kids and they feel that is a very unique experience. There is a special feeling out there. We feel like we are one giant family out there.”

The Miracle League of Arizona has been a part of the Scottsdale Charros family since day one, Mr. Haren points out.

Since the creation of the Dan Haren Jr. Field at 11130 E. Cholla St. in north Scottsdale, The Charro Foundation has provided more than $150,000 in funding with this year’s grant cycle producing a $10,735 grant to go toward general operations.

For 54 years the Scottsdale Charros have been in constant pursuit of improving the lives of Scottsdale residents while preserving the community’s ties to its western heritage.

Scottsdale Charro Dave Westra says the efforts of the Miracle League of Arizona speaks to the tenets of what being a Scottsdale Charro is all about.

“The Scottsdale Charros are all about youth sports and education — the Miracle League is a handicap-accessible baseball facility mostly used for kids in Scottsdale,” Mr. Westra said in a Nov. 18 phone interview. “It ties in very nicely with local sports as we are big sponsors for spring training here in the Valley.”

Mr. Westra currently serves as the vice president of the Scottsdale Charros’ Concilio (Executive Committee).

“You have to be fully committed to the Scottsdale community — the vast majority of us live and work in Scottsdale,” he said of what means to be a Scottsdale Charro. “You have to have a passion for doing the right thing all the time.”

Mr. Haren says the north Scottsdale Miracle League programs are expanding and a major part of that is thanks to the financial and volunteer support of the Scottsdale Charros.

“The Charros have been with us since the start — we have anywhere from 35 to 40 kids a few times a week now. We have also expanded our program to include disabled adults. The Charros are one of our founding fathers. They have been with us every year and every year, they help us in different ways.”

Go to www.mlaz.org or call 480-686-8137 to learn more about the Miracle League of Arizona.

Independent Newsmedia Arizona Managing Editor Terrance Thornton can be contacted at tthornton@newszap.com

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