Hey ya’ll! My name is Blaire Bostwick and I am so excited to be your Miss Sierra Nevada 2018. I was born and raised in the Central Valley and love my community more than anything. So much so that my community inspired my platform, “A Heart for Service” in which I hope to inspire volunteerism in communities throughout California. I have been blessed enough to complete over 175 community service projects since starting my platform but one ongoing project sticks out above the rest.
I heard about my local Miracle League Association in Visalia three years ago and had no idea what it was all about. I volunteered on a whim and I am beyond thankful that I did. Due to a shortage of coaches my first year, I was asked to be a coach and I couldn’t say yes fast enough. I have been a coach ever since and it has been an incredible journey.
For those who don’t know about The Miracle League, it is a baseball association for children and adults with mental and physical disabilities. These amazing individuals don’t always have the same opportunities to be involved with their local sports teams, so Miracle League makes sure that they don’t only feel included, but that they feel celebrated. Miracle League provides an environment where players get to try every position, hit home runs, and have fun with their peers all while playing on a special rubberized turf field that allows for wheelchairs and walkers to move around with ease. We use a buddy system within Miracle League, where every player has a buddy that helps them play the game and they build relationships with the players, allowing them to feel supported. This association makes sure they have the physical and mental support necessary to have a ball while enjoying America’s favorite pastime!
Through Miracle League I have been able to meet some of the most incredible kids ever. All of my players have the biggest hearts in the world and they enjoy the game on a level I have never seen before. They have learned and entirely understand the value of teamwork. One of my favorite moments of every game is when my team is up to bat and they stand on the third base line to high-five their teammate rounding third and headed to Home! As if that doesn’t put the biggest smile on their faces and mine, most games they line themselves up around the field to high-five and cheer on the teammates of the other team! Even my kiddos who can’t communicate verbally, show through their actions how much they enjoy the game and love their teammates!
Through my volunteerism with The Miracle League, I’ve had the opportunity to volunteer with various organizations who serve children and adults with disabilities. My passion for these kids and adults have inspired me to start my own dance program for students with special needs, volunteer in special education classrooms, and be an annual volunteer for The Special Olympics. These experiences have fueled my education as well as I completed my Undergraduate Thesis on the subject of special needs in the work force, and am now in a School Counselor Graduate program in which I hope to be an advocate for students with special needs in the educational system. Who knew that volunteering on whim would transform my life!
Special needs advocacy is such an important issue, and I’m thankful to be a voice for all the kids and adults who have changed my life through these Organizations. Children and adults with mental and physical disabilities should feel as much a part of society as everyone else, and I am so blessed for organizations such as Miracle League who work hard everyday to make that happen.
YOU can get involved too! Go online to www.themiracleleague.net to find your closest Miracle League or find your local Special Olympics event and sign up to volunteer. And remember, we need to be the change we with to see in the world!