IN FOCUS: Camden County’s Miracle League and Jake’s Place

On In Focus we highlight Camden County’s Miracle League whose slogan is, “More than just baseball.” It’s where everyone is an M-V-P. They play at Boundless Field in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. The league is for adults and children starting at age five who have various ability levels. It’s also where you’ll find, “Jake’s Place,” a specially constructed playground where children of any ability can play. Jennifer’s guest include Camden County Freeholder Ed McDonnell. Arthur Aston, “Build Jake’s Place” Executive Director and General Manager of the Camden County Miracle League is with us as well as Lynn Cummings, Jake’s grandmother and one of the playground’s co-founders. Everyone on the team is an MVP. And, player Brian Van De Vaarst and his mom Karen Van De Vaarst who is a “Build Jake’s Place” committee member also joins Jennifer on the show. Jake’s Place was inspired by 2-1/2 year old Jacob Myles Cummings Nasto who sadly passed away from complications after his fourth open heart surgery. Jake’s Place Playground is part of the region’s first, “boundless” playground. It has inspired proposed legislation aimed at ensuring all counties in New Jersey have at least one accessible playground. At the field, the ramps are strong enough and wide enough to accommodate disabled adults so that they too can play with their kids. The thirteen-hundred square foot rubber playing surface allows for handicapped accessibility and opened in 2013. In addition to baseball games, Special Olympic events can be held there. It has received a number of top honors. One in every 10 children reportedly cannot play on a playground because of physical limitations. Experts on the show say the Americans with Disabilities Act which encourages equal access to all playgrounds falls short in allowing every child, of every ability the opportunity to play and interact on every playground. Jake’s Place sees kids playing together. “In Focus” is broadcast Saturdays from 6:30 a.m. to 7 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. to Noon on PHL17.