Miracle League of North Oakland
Consession Stand Ribbon Cutting - June 18th
GREG & CHRIS YATOOMA MAKE $100,000 DONATION TO SUPPORTEASTERSEALS MIRACLE LEAGUE OF MICHIGAN NORTH OAKLAND FACILITIES
Donation to Inspire Community Match to Reach Fundraising Goal
May 19, 2022, Auburn Hills, Mich. – Easterseals Michigan (ESM) today announced a $100,000 donation from Greg & Chris Yatooma, supporting Easterseals Miracle League of Michigan North Oakland. The North Oakland Miracle League field opened in 2019 and is Easterseals Michigan’s second Miracle League field. The first field opened in Southfield in 2004 and is Michigan’s first adaptive baseball field, providing children with behavioral and/or physical challenges an opportunity to play baseball as a team member in an organized league, boost self-esteem, make new friends, and become more than an individual with a disability.
The funds will directly benefit the construction of a new Home Plate Concession Stand, where kids and families will enjoy food, refreshments and friendship. Through the donation, the brothers hope to inspire a community match, helping ESM reach its fundraising goal of $165,000 to complete the project.
“After visiting the Miracle League field in Orion Township and seeing joy on the children’s faces, I immediately knew I wanted to get involved,” said Greg Yatooma. “The addition of a concession stand is a way to improve the experience for players and families at the park, while raising funds to further support the league and its mission.”
All proceeds from the concession stand will support Miracle League and its mission. Additionally, the concession stand will service all field and park activities at Friendship Park in Orion Township, where the Miracle League Field is located, along with an ADA-accessible playground and wheelchair-accessible playground.
“Our theme for this year’s Easterseals Miracle League season is ‘There’s No Place Like Home,’ and this field encompasses our sentiment entirely,” said Brent Wirth, CEO of Easterseals Michigan. “The smiles, crack of the bat, fresh air… it’s inspiring for all involved, and we’re incredibly thankful for the generous donation of Chris and Greg Yatooma, ongoing support from Orion Township and the community that allow us to bring this program to more than 400 children each year.”
The custom-designed Miracle League fields incorporate a synthetic turf that accommodates walking assistance devices, handicapped accessible dugouts, restrooms, drinking fountains and gives children and adults the opportunity to play baseball like many of their peers.
“The Miracle League field is my happy place,” said Chris Barnett, Orion Township Supervisor and Champion of the Miracle League Field. “The pure hope that the field brings to hundreds of children each summer is inspiring, and it is a gem in our community.”
For children with physical and intellectual challenges playing in the league, they are paired with able-bodied volunteer “buddies” who assist them in batting, catching, throwing and running. Every player gets a turn at bat and in the outfield, and every child gets across home plate. Johnny Byrne is 12 years-old and has been part of Miracle League North Oakland for 3 years. The program has allowed Johnny, who has Down Syndrome, to finally play baseball like his peers.
“The Miracle League has allowed my son to play baseball like so many children his age and has taught him how to work within the framework of a team” said Johnny’s father, John Byrne. “Since joining Miracle League, I’ve seen his confidence grow, he interacts more with others, and he is now a true participant and not just a cheerleader from the sidelines. I can’t think of a better organization to be affiliated with to bring this opportunity to my family.”
A ribbon-cutting to celebrate the new concession stand and a donor wall unveiling will take place on Saturday, June 18 at 12:30 p.m. The day will also include a tripleheader of baseball games, beginning at 11 a.m., complimentary food, face painting, balloon art, an auction and more. Donations to support the concession stand can be made here by selecting “Miracle League North Oakland” from the drop-down menu.
For more information about Easterseals Michigan’s services, please contact 1-800-75-SEALS and visit www.eastersealsmichigan.com. For additional information about The Miracle League of Michigan, please visit michiganmiracle.org.
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About Easterseals Michigan
Since 1920, Easterseals Michigan has been the indispensable resource helping to define and change the way people live with, and view, disability. As a leader in addressing the disabilities of the 21st century that affect 1 in 4 individuals and their families, Easterseals Michigan empowers more than 15,000 people annually to live more independent lives.
Whether the challenge is behavioral, physical, social or intellectual, Easterseals Michigan adapts to the unique needs of each person. With locations in Auburn Hills, Center Line, Royal Oak, Pontiac, Southfield, Waterford, Walled Lake, Flint and Grand Rapids, Easterseals continues to grow and adapt to the needs of local communities.
Through a continuum of services including, but not limited to, early childhood intervention, behavioral health services, occupational therapy, senior services and recreational programs including the Miracle League of Michigan and Miracle Dance, Easterseals Michigan creates life-changing solutions so that people with disabilities can thrive in their own communities.
Media ContactsJim MillerNear Perfect Media for Easterseals Michiganjim@nearperfectmedia.com(248) 855-4300, ext. 3 Jenny BhattiOrion Township Supervisor’s Officejbhatti@oriontownship.org248.391.0304, ext. 1003