Universally Accessible Dodgers Dreamfield at Baldwin Hills Recreation Center

LOS ANGELES - The Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation (LADF) announced today that it has broken ground on its universally accessible Dodgers Dreamfield at Baldwin Hills Recreation Center located at 5401 Highlight Place in Los Angeles. This will be the 38th Dodgers Dreamfield and it is expected to be dedicated in July with all partners including City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks, LA84 Foundation, the Miracle League, the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation and Security Benefit. This $650,000 project will mark the first Miracle League field in Los Angeles. LADF's first universally accessible Dodgers Dreamfield was initially announced at LADF's inaugural Blue Diamond Gala April 16.

"Everyone deserves a chance to play baseball," said LADF Executive Director Nichol Whiteman. "We are thrilled that children with special needs throughout Los Angeles will benefit from this wonderful field and know that it was created with their needs in mind. Given there are over 80,000 students with disabilities in the Los Angeles Unified School District alone, we are confident this field will provide memorable opportunities to many."

LADF's Dodgers Dreamfield at Baldwin Hills Recreation Center will be an all-new ADA accessible field that will be constructed in a location in the park that is currently an asphalt play area. The field will feature an adaptive synthetic turf surface to allow free movement of wheelchairs and walkers. The baseline field will feature black vinyl chain link fencing including a backstop, side line and home run fencing. The dugouts are oversized with metal roofs for shade and protection from the elements. Energy efficient LED field lighting will allow safe extended play on the field. A large scoreboard area with signage and video board will resemble the scoreboard at Dodger Stadium. Elements surrounding the field include concrete pathways, spectator bleachers, a drinking fountain and a scorekeeper's table. A partner monument, in the shape of a small backstop, will carry signage recognizing all partners and donors and black tube steel perimeter fencing will extend around the field.

"Youth with disabilities are too often denied opportunities to participate in sports," said LA84 Foundation President Anita L. DeFrantz. "There is a shortage of adequate sports facilities, trained coaches and volunteers to support youngsters with special needs who wish to play. This is why we are delighted to partner with LADF to build a universally accessible Dodgers Dreamfield. This field will make it possible for these kids to play baseball and experience the magic of sport.

"The tremendous partnership between the Dodgers and the Miracle League is the result of both organizations coming together, making a difference in the lives of all children no matter their abilities," said Miracle League Executive Director Diane Alford. "This project will enrich the lives of children with disabilities as well as their families and their communities. It demonstrates to children with disabilities that they are not limited by their disability but can take advantage of such an opportunity to play America's favorite pastime, baseball, just like their brothers, sisters and friends. When a kid crosses home plate it will give their parents such joy to see their child playing baseball just like all other boys and girls. We cannot change or cure the medical issues life has dealt children with disabilities. What we can do is provide them with an opportunity to experience the joy and benefits through the game of baseball. A special thank you to the Dodgers and their foundation for being a part of making dreams come true."

"This is a wonderful day for kids in Los Angeles," said Steve Salem, President of the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation. "We're honored that LADF and the Miracle League have allowed us to help them in a small way to make it possible for children with special needs to have a fun and safe place to play."

"Baseball is America's favorite pastime and today, thanks to the great work of LADF, special needs youth and their families will have access to a state-of-the-art, universally accessible baseball field," said Los Angeles City Council President Herb J. Wesson, Jr. "I am proud that this field, which celebrates the 2015 Special Olympics World Games, will be located in Council District 10."

"The Department of Recreation and Parks is thrilled to have the first universally accessible Dodgers Dreamfield at Baldwin Hills Recreation Center in South L.A., thanks to the continued support from LADF," said Michael A. Shull, General Manager, Department of Recreation and Parks. "We have no doubt this will be a successful project, and can't wait for the community to enjoy its completion."

For companies interested in supporting this field, please contact David Brennan, Director of Programs and Fundraising with the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation at 323-224-1413 or at davidbr@ladodgers.com. Current donors include the LA84 Foundation, Cal Ripken Sr., Foundation, City of Los Angeles, Security Benefit, California Wellness Foundation and Special Children's League.

Programming to take place on the field will be in conjunction with the Miracle League Los Angeles and the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks. To learn more about the future programming to take place at this field for kids with special needs or physical disabilities, please contact Jeremy McGovern, Director, Miracle League Los Angeles at jeremycmcgovern@gmail.com or via https://www.facebook.com/MiracleLeagueLosAngeles.

The Dodgers Dreamfields program is one of the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation's signature initiatives and its goal is to provide baseball fields where youngsters can learn the game of baseball in an organized program that is administered by the city or county in a safe environment while learning the importance of playing team sports and key characteristics such as sportsmanship, ethics and fair play.

About the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation

The Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation uses baseball- and softball-themed programs to help build character and teach critical life lessons to underserved youth across America. Founded in 2001 by members of the Ripken family in memory of their patriarch Cal, Sr., the Foundation works to create programs that positively impact youth through active community partnerships with America's most successful youth service organizations. The Ripken Foundation uses the baseball and softball field to help teach life's critical lessons to young people and is also designing and building Youth Development Parks, multi-purpose, synthetic surface fields to give kids a clean and safe place to play and learn. The Ripken Foundation has impacted over 1 million kids nationwide.

About the Department of Recreation and Parks

The Department of Recreation and Parks maintains over 16,000 acres of parkland with over 430 neighborhood and regional parks, 184 recreation centers and facilities, 368 children's play areas, 321 tennis courts, 256 ball fields, 31 senior centers, 13 golf courses, nine dog parks, 24 skate parks, 61 swimming pools, 12 museums and an urban forest of one million trees and 92 miles of hiking trails. The Department also provides after school enrichment programs for children and teens including music, dance, and athletic programs. For more information about the Department of Recreation and Parks, please visit www.laparks.org.

About the LA84 Foundation

The LA84 Foundation was established to manage Southern California's share of the surplus from the successful 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. The Foundation received an endowment of $93 million. Since it began operations in 1985, it has invested more than $225 million back into the communities that supported the Games, supporting more than 3 million youth in the eight Southern California counties of Los Angeles, Imperial, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Santa Barbara and Ventura. Its headquarters is the historic Britt House near downtown Los Angeles where it houses the world's premier sports library and meeting facilities. The Foundation provides grants to youth sports organizations, manages programs, including a coaching education program, and convenes numerous forums for the exploration of the most pressing issues in sport. For more information, please visit www.la84.org.

About The Miracle League

The Miracle League was established in Conyers, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta, in 2000 with an aggressive plan to orchestrate a special Miracle League Baseball Program and construct a specially built rubber sports surface fields around the globe. The goal is to build as many Miracle League complexes as possible in order to serve children with special needs. Presently the Miracle League is approaching over 300 Miracle Leagues across the country including Puerto Rico, Canada, Mexico and Australia, serving over 250,000 children and young adults. The Miracle League will enrich the lives of children with disabilities as well as their families and their communities. It demonstrates to children with disabilities that they are not limited by their disability but can take the advantage of such an opportunity to play America's favorite pass time baseball, just like their brothers, sisters and friends. 

About Security Benefit

Security Benefit Life Insurance Company is a 123-year-old, Kansas-based insurance company, that has become one of the fastest growing companies in the U.S. retirement market. Through a combination of innovative products, exceptional investment management and a unique distribution strategy, Security Benefit is a leader in a full range of retirement markets and wealth segments. To learn more about Security Benefit, visit www.securitybenefit.com.