How we pulled off a real life Field of Dreams!
Parents of children with special needs team-up with volunteers to raise hundreds of thousands to build an accessible baseball field.
If you’ve thought about volunteering but never got to it because you haven’t found your passion or can’t imagine your time would make a difference…
I am so proud to be a part of the Field of Dreams Baseball Program and to volunteer my time, ideas and expertise alongside Pat and Charline who started this and managed to rallied volunteers around their vision.
We are a small but mighty group of 6 volunteer board members, 4 of us are parents of players on the team. The other 2 are just angels 😇 … They are fully dedicated to this program and whatever makes them do this, I am grateful for and I feel privileged to be part of the magic.
This year, our program has 54 players divided over 2 levels (junior and senior teams). This is our biggest group of players yet and I can see our numbers continue to increase as more people learn about it.
In June 2014, after months of fundraising, we took 19 of our players and their family to Toronto to play baseball in the home of the Blue Jays!
While selling chocolate bars and participating in many initiatives to make this trip happen, we started the groundwork on getting our own accessible field.
For more than 2.5 years, we’ve been dreaming about this, reaching out to our city and government. Making plans and working on budgets. We researched grants and made presentations to various level of government and organizations.
With dedication and hard work, we finally announced the beginning of construction this past May after securing commitments from the city of Moncton and the province of New Brunswick.
The city of Moncton, gave us the field to retrofit and donated $167,000 to put towards the cost of our project.
The Province of New Brunswick agreed to match the city’s financial contribution of $167,000.
We had 2/3 of our project funded and 1/3 still to go!
In order to break ground, the city agreed to loan us the remaining $167,000 over 7 years.
Knowing what we had done already, we hoped to be able to secure some grants and sponsorships that would allow us to fund the last ⅓ of this project over a shorter time frame than 7 years.
Like I said above, hard work and dedications…
Over the last 2 weeks, we announced the following donations:
$125,000 from the Jays Care Foundation
$10,000 from our local Pita Pit locations
And $165,000 from Presidents Choice Children’s Charity
How are your math skills?
Did you already figure it out already?
Phase 1 of our Field project (which we had 7 years to find the last 1/3 of the funds) is fully funded within 2 months of the first announcement!
Our teams will have their fully accessible baseball field!
Our players will have a much safer place to play and I am overwhelmed by emotions knowing that I played a small part in this.
Someone asked yesterday, when we announced the PCCC generous donation, what we were going to do now.
We play Baseball!
We continue to provide this amazing program to as many kids and young adults as we can!
After baseball we go back to the plans and look at what is our next step.
Will it be lights, a score board, a BBQ area (for party), better bathroom facilities, more parking spaces, accessible play area, there are so many things we could do next.
This was never a stand-alone projects in our heads. This was phase 1!
Thank you so much to all involved!
To my fellow board members! Shelley, Tracy, Blaise, Charline and Ruth!
To the Moncton Fishercats for volunteering every week. You are awesome!
To everyone who contributed to our fundraisers and/or donated to President Choice Children Charity. We wouldn’t be here without your generosity.
To our Field of Dreams parents for taking the time weekly to take our athletes to the field.
To our volunteers for taking the time to play baseball with our teams and allowing us parents some time to chat amongst ourselves while cheering for our kids! As Emily’s mom, I can say that I never really thought I would do something like that, ever!
And last but not least, thank you to our athletes for being there, having fun and giving it everything they have. You make us want to be better and do more just by being yourselves! Thank you!
Soon, we will have our Field of Dreams! It’s being built right now!
I wrote about our baseball journey before, you can revisit those posts here:
Some experiences you just can’t buy!