D-backs, APS team up to help 'Kayla's Hands'

PHOENIX -- The D-backs and Arizona Public Service both made significant contributions to complete the funding for the "Kayla's Hands" playground in Prescott, Ariz.

The playground will be built in memory of Kayla Mueller, a human rights activist who passed away earlier this year while being held captive in Syria.

"We are so pleased to be a part of making this playground a reality," D-backs team president/CEO Derrick Hall said. "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."

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.

Mueller was held captive for 18 months before passing away on Feb. 6, 2015. In Kayla's memory, her parents started a non-profit organization called Kayla's Hands 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.

The Kiwanis Club of Prescott had raised more than half of the funds needed for the playground project 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.

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.