The Children's Institute Blog

Pittsburgh Pirates Visit to The Children's Institute a Home Run for All Involved

Posted: Apr 27, 2017 by The Children's Institute

Allyson Clark, a Buffalo teen taking part in The Children’s Institute’s inpatient program, has at least one New York Yankees fan in her family, but that didn’t stop her from smiling in pictures with the Pittsburgh Pirates when a crew from the hometown team visited yesterday.

“It was something fun to do during a break in our day,” Allyson said.

“It was really nice to meet them all,” added Ashlee Hamilton, another inpatient.

John Jaso, Chris Stewart, team president Frank Coonelly and coaches Dave Jauss, Kimera Bartee and Euclides Rojas -- all clothed in Bucco yellow -- passed out team gear, signed autographs and generally brightened the day for a group of kids from The Children’s Institute’s Day School and inpatient hospital.

First-base coach Kimera Bartee smiled as he posed for a photo, complete with peace signs, with Day School student Denny Nicholson.

“I love it, hanging out with these guys – they inspire us,” Bartee said. “They keep us believing what we do is helping the community on the field and off.”

Stewart stressed it was his pleasure, too, to be seeing so many smiling faces.

“You see the smiles on their faces and it makes it all worth it,” he said. “I think we get as much joy out of it as they do.”

The Pirates’ support for The Children’s Institute, though, goes well beyond winning games or a drop-in visit to spread some cheer.

The Children’s Institute receives half the Pirates’ Wins for Kids money, with donations given for each of the Pirates wins. The other half goes to Pirates Charities. $162,262 had been given through Wins for Kids through the end of the 2016 season. Pirates Manager Clint Hurdle, whose daughter, Maddie, has Prader-Willi syndrome, brought the Wins for Kids program with him when he joined the Pirates in 2010. Clint is a strong supporter of The Children’s Institute, directing funding and bringing awareness to the organization.

We also were the recipient for the proceeds from the 2012 Pirates Auction on ROOT SPORTS, a live on-air auction at PNC Park held in August 2012. The $200,000 grant supported four Centers of Excellence: Prader-Willi Syndrome, Acquired Brain Injury, Spinal Cord Injury and Autism. Pirates Charities named two spaces following their $200,000 grant from the auction. Both the Prader-Willi gym and the Physical Therapy gyms are named in honor of the Pirates.

The Pirates have hosted the graduating seniors from The Day School at The Children’s Institute at their Very Important Pirate (VIP) night. A party is thrown for the students in one of the luxury suites and they’re honored on the field.

Children’s Institute CEO David Miles was touched by the visit Tuesday from the Pirates.

“I think it’s great. I love it when the players come visit our kids,” said Miles, who has caught the opening pitch – thrown by a Children’s Institute patient – at a Pirates game. “You can see the excitement on the faces of the kids, as well as the players and the families.”

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