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Categorized | Arts & Entertainment

Fundraiser for special needs baseball field

Next spring the sound of baseball will be coming from a new field and some special children will finally get the chance to play the game, if everything goes as planned for the Tri-County Little League.  On November 19, the league will be holding a silent auction that they hope will provide enough funds to begin construction.

For the past year, the league has been working to raise funds to construct a field to be used by the Challenger Division. The Little League Challenger Division is designed to enable children with physical or developmental challenges to play the game of baseball like millions of other children worldwide. In this league, teams are set up according to ability rather than age.

The requirements of a field such as this include an alternative material for the infield, wider base paths and other safety needs to ensure a positive and enabling environment. While some area Little Leagues have Challenger Divisions, there are currently no fields in the West Michigan area specifically designed for children with special needs.

“We are encouraged that we can begin construction soon,” said league president, Amy Blake.  “We have had a large interest from families in the area for a league such as this and to see it happening is very exciting.”

The silent auction has many unique items and packages available.  The event is being held on November 19, 2010 from 5:00 P.M. to 9:00 P.M. at the JW Marriott hotel in downtown Grand Rapids.

Complimentary soft drinks and hors ‘oeuvres will be served.

“We have something for every budget and interest,” continued Blake, “from a Disney World vacation, to a private helicopter tour, autographed sports memorabilia, gift certificates, you name it.”  The league has listed many of the items available on its website, http://www.tcball.org/www.tcball.org.  The list of items is extensive and impressive.

“We are counting on a strong turnout to push us over the top.” said Blake.  “We have many unique and desirable items.  It is the perfect opportunity for people to get a jump on their holiday shopping and help a good cause at the same time.”

Each year, the league selects one project to be the beneficiary of the majority of it’s fund raising activities, however, most are not as large of an undertaking as this.  “We have estimates of between $20-30,000 to build the field, and that does not include things like a scoreboard or bleachers,” added Blake.  “We have had some excellent help from dozens of sponsors for all of our projects, especially our auctions,” she said, “This is our 3rd auction and it will be, far and away, our best.  I haven’t seen too many other silent auctions in the area with the unique variety of items that we have.”

Blake added that the list of items continues to grow, with more sponsors and items every day.  “It’s exciting to see what UPS or the mail carriers will bring each day! Every time I open a package or an envelope, I think, ‘This brings us closer to our goal.’  We hope a lot of people come out to support the league and to get an early start on their holiday shopping.”

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