Miracle League Complex in Dubuque helps families create memories

Updated: Oct. 2, 2022 at 5:10 PM CDT
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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG) - The Miracle League, an organization that helps people with special needs play sports like baseball, is helping families make memories in eastern Iowa.

The Miracle League Complex in Dubuque was opened on August 10, 2021, with a playground and a field with a rubber surface allowing people with special needs to play sports like baseball and kickball. Jil VanCleave helped advocate for the creation of the Miracle League Complex in Dubuque. Now, she works there helping people with disabilities enjoy a safe space where they can play America’s pastime.

“Baseball is a game for everybody of all ages, all disabilities. These kids are comfortable playing here and it’s all-inclusive, so you know they’re getting opportunities they wouldn’t’ve had,” VanCleave said.

Parents of players said it’s incredible for their kids to have this opportunity, and that it’s inspiring to see the support and the atmosphere around the games. Todd Klapatauskas whose daughter Madilyn played said

“To have the announcer introduce [Madilyn] to coming up to bat, and all the kids get their own special nicknames from the announcer,” Todd Klapatauskas, Madilyn’s father, said. “Just to have a crowd cheer for you that’s pretty special and every kid gets that every single time.”

VanCleave said that getting to see people like her son Conner step up to the plate is an experience like nothing else.

“It’s a joy to see him be able to play a sport that he loves. It brings tears to my eyes, but it’s just amazing,” VanCleave said.

They will have two more games in their fall season on October 8 and October 15, both at 10:00 a.m.