The North Metro Miracle League (NMML) provides inclusive adapted sports and social activities for children and adults of all abilities. We are committed to the philosophy that every person deserves to be acknowledged, valued and included. We are also dedicated to promoting positive images that demonstrate the value of every member of our community. Any form of pity oriented media material or solicitation is totally contrary to our core values.
The North Metro Miracle League has been providing adapted sports programs and inclusive social activities for disabled children, teens and adults living in the North Fulton area since 2002. Thirteen years ago we had 22 baseball players and we had to borrow facilities on which to play. Today the NMML has 20 teams instead of 22 players. We no longer borrow facilities, people borrow ours. In 2005 the NMML dedicated a $2,300,000.00 barrier free adapted sports complex that includes an artificial surface sports field, a totally wheelchair accessible playground, a 40 X 60 picnic pavilion and a multi-purpose family center.
Baseball is still our signature piece, but now we also offer bowling, swimming, after school fitness clinics, summer day camps at the Sports Complex, parent’s night out respite care and Family Camping Retreats on Lake Oconee and Vocational Rehab Training at our new facility on Old Alabama Road. Our social activities include various holiday parties, cook-outs and trips to a wide variety of sports and entertainment venues. Every Christmas the Alliance dedicates the last dress rehearsal of the Christmas Carol to the NMML and gives us the entire 600 seat theater for our families and friends. We are regular guests at the Center for Puppetry Arts and last year we took over 500 people to the Circus.
As the NMML “matured” we came to realize that what we were doing not only served the children but also served their parents and siblings. Caring for a child with a disability demands total dedication and unconditional love from every member of the family.
How does the NMML help families? We give them somewhere to go, something to do and some place where they feel at home. We create a comfort zone where parents can bring their children and know their child will be included and engaged in activities that should be a part of every child’s growth and development. Able bodied siblings are included in all of our activities because we realize they live in the shadow of their brothers or sister’s disability and that isn’t easy. The parents are among other parents who have been there and understand. It doesn’t take long for “kindred spirits” to recognize one another. Much needed friendships form and the feelings of loneliness and isolation start to fade.
Our volunteer base (buddies) from the area high schools, middle schools and faith based youth groups are also a part of the NMML family. These able bodied volunteers have opened their hearts and minds so they now see beyond the disability. They have learned to see the unique individual before them. Genuine friendships start to grow, and for a child with a disability, having a friend outside the disability community is a huge leap forward in their search for normalcy. The buddies have taken the time to learn “people first language” and the etiquette appropriate to working with age peers and adults with disabilities. High School coaches and councilors, leaders of faith based institutions, civic organizations and corporations find the community service opportunities provided by the NMML to be one of the most meaningful ways to share the gift of time. In 2008 the NMML received the Howland Gold Medal Award from the National League of Cities (18,000 cities and towns) for “developing one of the nation’s most innovative programs enriching the entire community”.
Because of broad based community support we were able host Spring and Fall Adapted Softball, after school Fitness Clinics, 8 weeks of summer camp (Camp Moementum & Camp 2 Community) at our North Park Complex. In addition we host June / July 3 day 2 night family camping retreats on Lake Oconee (No Limits Outdoor Challenge). These retreats involved 10 families per session, the disabled child, the able bodied siblings and the parents. We also added three camp sessions for at risk children from the City of Refuge Children’s Shelter, our inner city strategic partner.
Three years ago a vocational rehabilitation program (PRISM) was added our services and has become a significant resource for many residents of our community. Program founder and Executive Director Marilyn Martinez and her team have done cutting edge work that is gaining recognition from parents and Fulton County and State of Georgia support programs.