While Speak Up For Service Day was created to celebrate the awesome community service efforts of young people, it has evolved to be a source of inspiration and action for everyone. On October 30th, the power of community service is on display, showing that even the smallest gesture can make the biggest difference.
One of our values at TransLoc is to Put People First. It’s in everything we do from the benefits we offer our employees — our TransLocians — to the mobility products we create and communities we serve. It’s an organizational attitude that goes beyond transit, helping us recognize our place in the community and our ability to be agents of change. And it’s why you’ll see TransLocians come together for service initiatives such as Toys for Tots, Fountain Square Community Garden, and Democracy NC.
One such initiative that I and a few other TransLocians participate in is the Miracle League of the Triangle: a nonprofit organization in North Carolina that is part of a network of 250 Miracle League organizations and has contributed to the Miracle League’s total of 200,000 children and adults with disabilities served across the U.S., Puerto Rico, Canada, and Australia.
What’s the goal of the Miracle League? On the surface, it seems simple — to give children and adults with disabilities the opportunity to enjoy the fun and competition of baseball! But when you look past its simplicity, you see how America’s favorite pastime is used to create positive life experiences and a real sense of community for the children, adults, and families.
I’ll let you in on a little secret: this isn’t the typical version of baseball. At the Miracle League, you’ll hear inspiring versions of the National Anthem sung by the players themselves. They have beeping softballs and baseballs for visually-impaired players. The “field” is made out of protective rubber, so wheelchairs and walkers can go over it with ease. Each player has a pump-up song as they step up to bat. There are no strikes and no umpires. Every game is played in two innings and games always end in a tie — everybody wins!
After all, wins and losses do not matter in the Miracle League. Champions are made through the bonds and memories they create.
I began with the Miracle League of the Triangle as a buddy, and was paired up with a player for two hours to assist their needs and make sure they were having as much fun as possible. I’ll admit that I was intimidated at first. I didn’t have a lot of experience, and am not sporty by any means. However, the Miracle League does a fantastic job providing on-site training to their buddies. After being a buddy for a few games, I quickly learned that I wanted to participate again and again.
Over the years, I pulled together buddy groups from places I worked, employees that work for my business, and my family and friends. If the Miracle League had a buddy group back out, they contacted me and I reached out to my network. Everyone jumped at the chance to help.
Several years ago, I became a coach for the Thursday night adult league. It was the best decision ever. We have players between ages 14 through 70-plus. I’ve recruited my sister and my nephew as coaches — my nephew started as a buddy at age 14 and has been coaching for four years with us. Our players have so much love for the game and, more importantly, their teammates. Additionally, the Miracle League games give caregivers a little opportunity to enjoy themselves from the stands and watch their loved ones play ball. Every single smile from players, volunteers, and families is a constant reminder of how selfless acts of community service can truly reshape the lives of others.
Volunteering with the Miracle League helped me discover my love for service, but there are thousands of organizations who ignite your passion for helping others. On this Speak Up For Service Day, I encourage you to visit VolunteerMatch and search for an organization that aligns with your values.
You will get more than you give.Interested in joining a mission-based company focused on improving the lives of others through the power of accessible and equitable mobility? Hint: that’s us! Visit our Careers page and apply today.