FAYETTEVILLE – The University of Arkansas gymnastics team participated in a community service project with the Northwest Arkansas Miracle League this past weekend.
The Miracle League was founded in 1998 by the Rockdale Youth Baseball Association in Georgia. The mission of the organization is to provide opportunities for all children to play baseball regardless of their disability. The league began with 35 players on four teams. The Miracle League has since been established across the United States.
The entire team and staff participated, including senior Stacy Bartlett, sophomore Natalie Bohonsky, freshman Katherine Grable, junior Mariah Howdeshell, sophomore Kelci Lewis, junior Jaime Pisani, freshman Shelby Salmon, sophomore Amanda Siebert, sophomore Jordan Salsberg, junior Genny Salvatore, senior Michelle Stout, freshman Scarlett Williams and freshman Bailee Zumwalde, along with co-head coaches Mark and René Cook, and assistant coach Don Houlton.
Teams took the field during the day with the Razorback team and staff members, and other volunteers, serving as "buddies" for each player.
"The team really enjoyed participating in the event and got a lot out of it," René Cook says. "It was one of our best experiences together outside of the gym."
In 2006, the Miracle League made its debut in Arkansas with an organization in Little Rock. Northwest Arkansas is the latest addition in the state.
There are currently more than 200 Miracle League sites across the country, including Puerto Rico, with 100 completed rubberized fields and 100 more still under construction. The organization proudly serves over 80,000 children and young adults with disabilities.