MASON, Ohio — The Mason Challenger League, which allows physically and developmentally disabled kids to enjoy all the full benefits of Little League play, received a $25,000 grant to build a new park.
League officials said they can make that money go a long way. For the athletes and parents, it’ll go a long way to seeing more smiles.
“She sees us get out the jersey,” parent Sarah Fister-Brewer said. “She gets so excited to be here and see friends.”
The league gives the Little League experience to more than 100 kids.
“It’s their time to shine,” Mason Challenger League co-president Susan Murdock said. “Their time to be part of the team. Their time to have their parents cheering for them.”
She said the fields the kids play on were never designed for what the league is using them for.
“Right now, we play on typical fields,” Murdock said. “We play in Deerfield Township and the city of Mason. We make do with them."
In September, the league applied for a grant from State Farm. Out of 2,000 organizations nationwide, the Mason Challenger League was one of the top 40 to receive a grant.
“COVID slowed us down with our project to start raising money for the new fields,” Murdock said. “Now, this is just a kickstart. It gets us going. Brings back the energy for us to go out there and find more money to get the fields going.”
The league’s plan is to build a $1.5 million facility at Mason’s Makino Park with three baseball fields – two of them turf – to allow the kids to have a safe surface to play on.
“It’ll get us started,” Murdock said. “Probably doing drawings with an engineer.”
It will also help the dreams of so many go a long way.
“It’s precious. You want them to have everything,” Murdock said. “There’s so many things that are harder for them than their typical peers. For them to have a place to belong, a place for themselves, and a place to go out and play. It’s a fantastic thing to watch.”