In March, Amber and four members of MiHi asked the State House of Delegates for a $50,000 bond grant, to be matched with local donations, to continue its goal of bringing handicapped-accessible equipment to parks and recreational facilities.
All four members, in remarks to legislators, asked for the grant, but it was Amber's simple plea that won them over, said Mary Pearson, the child's grandmother and founder of MiHi in 1987. The legislators came up with $35,000.
"I told them that I can walk, run and play and the other children can't," Amber said, describing her brief speech in Annapolis. "I was nervous, but not that much," she said.
On the same day she met and was photographed with Glendening, Pearson said.
"She sealed the deal for us," Pearson said. "She's been a volunteer for MiHi since she was three."
"Amber played a very elemental part in getting the grant," said William K. Beard, executive director of MiHi. He said the organization is only $6,000 from reaching its matching share of the grant. "We have two-and-a-half years to raise the rest," he said.
Amber has also come up with her own fund-raiser using a child's game she saw in a toy store. Players pay 25 cents to try to pick up a magnetized plastic fish floating in water with a rod and reel.
Pearson said she makes about $25 for MiHi every time she runs the game. She ran it last weekend at the annual MiHi Day in the Park at the Washington County Ag Center, she said.
Amber was also given a plaque at the banquet and a MiHi junior ambassador sash, said Andrew Humphreys, chairman of the board.
Also Saturday night, MiHi recognized Franklin Turner, owner of Turner Enterprises, for his $15,000 donation.
"I sponsor a lot of things," Turner said. "When Mary Pearson approached me and took me around to the parks my heart went out to the handicapped. It didn't take much to sell me when I saw how the money would be spent. I was happy to do it."