On a warm and sunny day, people from all across the Des Moines metro area flocked to what was a heartwarming special event known as Playing For a Miracle on Saturday, April 13.


Playing For A Miracle was the theme for the event, put on by the Waukee Betterment Foundation to help raise money and awareness for the proposed Miracle League Field and recreation center for individuals with special needs. Held in Waukee, the event held a lot of excitement and fun as members from both the Waukee and West Des Moines Valley High Schools baseball teams stopped by to play.


It was quite the event to behold and, thanks to Sportsplex West in Waukee, it had the location perfectly suited to bring out the greatness that was Playing For A Miracle. Various yard games and the occasional baseball game littered the event and of the many great aspects about the event itself, it all began with the generous donation of the facility itself by Sportsplex West and D1 Des Moines Training.


“It was difficult finding the right venue that could safely house an event like this,” began Waukee Betterment Foundation member Michelle Renken. “We have to give a big shout-out to Sportsplex West for donating this facility for the entire day. We didn’t know if we could do it if we didn’t have the budget for a facility. It was extremely special of them to open their doors. We wouldn’t have been able to do this without them.”


With the venue in hand, the Playing For A Miracle event was a success. Not only was there a lot of fun to be had, but there was also a lot to be learned regarding the project itself. A lot of learning that brought a lot of intrigued and excited families, including the Heep family, whose son Ben could benefit from such a facility. The father, Tyler, spoke about the joys he felt once he learned of the future facility.


“When I first heard about this type of a facility around here I was excited about it,” stated Tyler. “We need as many special needs adapted parks as possible and the fact that Waukee and Dallas County are willing to create such a facility closer to home is excellent.”


Beginning at noon and extending all the way to five in the afternoon, children of all abilities were able to play baseball with high school athletes, throw kick balls around, even try their hand at putting a golf ball. There was fun had by individuals of all ages which, along with awareness, was the exact intent of the event.


“What is happening here today is what will happen with the Miracle League Field and then some,” mentioned Waukee Betterment Foundation Vice President Todd McDonald. “It’s all about inclusiveness so no matter what the ability or age, everyone can have a good time just like they should be able to.”


Inclusiveness has been the ultimate driving force that stems from an underlying societal issue of equality for all, something the Miracle League Field addresses in full force, not only for those individuals with special needs but the families involved as well.


“It’s really cool when they let special needs kids be apart of the regular classroom and that’s what we want here, just on the field and the playground,” said Michelle Renken. “They are not any different, they’ve just got different abilities. For those of us with kids with special needs, it’s great to see our children included. That’s exactly what this project will bring.”


In all, it was an extremely successful day spreading the word and even in adding a little towards the ultimate financial goal. Ultimately, the entirety of the project will cost around $5.6 million, with the Waukee Betterment Foundation aiming to raise around $2.5 million for the Miracle League park, field and fishing pier. While there is a long road ahead, with financial help, the project is well underway. For those who wish to assist through donations, they can visit www.waukeebetterment.org to donate. Just search under the projects tab and hit the donate now button.