The Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks, @LosDbacks) and Arizona Public Service (@apsFYI) jointly announced they have made significant contributions to complete funding for the "Kayla's Hands" playground in Prescott, Ariz., which will be built in memory of Kayla Mueller, the human rights activist who passed away earlier this year while being held captive by the Islamic State in Syria.
"We are so pleased to be a part of making this playground a reality," said D-backs President and CEO Derrick Hall. "We must never forget the service and spirit of this beautiful, young Arizonan who had a heart of gold and cared so deeply for children and humanity in general. This destination will provide the perfect legacy for Kayla and will help create positive lifelong memories for young families, just as she did her entire life for hers. We salute and honor the Mueller family and thank all who contributed and are making this dream come to fruition."
"Kayla's story has touched many lives," said Don Brandt, APS Chairman, President and CEO. "It is an honor to be a part of building the Kayla's Hands playground, a place where the Prescott community can come to remember her joy for life and pass her legacy on for generations to come."
The Kiwanis Club of Prescott had raised more than half of the funds needed for the playground project and was seeking to raise additional funding when the D-backs and APS stepped up to contribute the remaining funds. The playground, which will be owned and maintained by the City of Prescott, is located adjacent to Brad Ziegler Field, one of 35 fields built across the state as a partnership between the D-backs and APS.
Mueller, 26, attended Tri-City College Prep High School and then Northern Arizona University, where she studied political science and focused on international issues in and out of the classroom. After graduation, she traveled around the world, volunteering with several humanitarian groups and teaching young children abroad.
Praised for her humility and selflessness, she was held captive for 18 months in Syria before perishing on Feb. 6, 2015. In Kayla's memory, her parents started a non-profit organization called Kayla's Hands (www.kaylashands.org) that works to further Kayla's humanitarian efforts both locally and internationally.
Following her passing in February, all D-backs uniformed personnel wore a black patch with "KAYLA" written on the sleeve for their Spring Training games between March 3-8.