Like all Cardinal Mooney High School students, Teagan Nickols is required to complete 100 hours of community service throughout her four years at the school. For many students, a lot of the volunteer opportunities are short-term, and they come and go as students seek to fulfill their requirements. But, every once in a while, students stumble upon an opportunity that changes their lives.
“I had volunteered at a few walks and things like that,” says Nickols. “But one day, when I was a freshman, there was an announcement for Miracle League of Manasota. I went, and I absolutely loved it. I’ve been back every Saturday since.”
The nonprofit organization was founded to provide children with disabilities an opportunity to participate in an organized baseball league. Now an incoming senior, Nickols says the organization has impacted her life more than she ever expected.
“I was a little scared my first time here,” says Nickols. “I didn’t know what to expect, but when I got paired with my first player, it was just amazing. It just makes you smile the entire time you’re here.”
Volunteers meet with the players to help pair them with volunteer buddies, teach them the basics of the game and help set up the various booths and concessions.
“It’s a lot of work,” says Pete Nickols, who began volunteering alongside his daughter at the games. “But it’s totally worth it. The second the kids get to this field, they’re smiling and laughing and hugging. That’s the feel-good moment, right there, and it’s all day long, so it’s just great.”
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