There’s nothing like seeing children smile at Christmastime, especially children with disabilities, who spend most of their days recieving treatment and therapy. There were plenty of smiles at the Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh when officers from six different police officers rolled up on motorcycles and in squad cars to make a special delivery Tuesday.
The motorcade arrived at the Institute, which is located in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood, bringing Santa, and carloads of gifts for the facility’s outpatients and students with special needs who attend the Day School there. �There�s nothing like the joy of a smile, and every present we bring in here is like one extra smile we bring to the kids,� Aspinalwall Chief David Nemec said. �But we get it in return too, because it makes us happy and it makes us smile.�
�Presents from Police� is a toy drive effort started by local law enforcement a decade ago. Officers from Aspinwall, Millvale, Etna, Shaler, Reserve, and the City of Pittsburgh shop for the gifts and love to personally deliver them and meet the kids. �We�re bringing these gifts to let them know we care about them and we�re thinking about them. We�re here to bring happiness and a smile,� said Millvale Deputy Chief Mike Vith.
Officers delivered brand new gifts to students in specialized classrooms for autism, multiple disabilities, and adult preparation, and to outpatient medical waiting rooms. The Institute serves nearly 200 special needs children from more than 60 school districts. “This past year, I think we�ve all realized the incredible importance of our police and we thank them for their dedicated service and commitment to our community,� said Wendy Pardee, President and CEO of The Children’s Institute, which is just across the street from Tree of Life Synagogue, scene of the October 2018 massacre that killed 11 worshipers.
�It�s truly magical to see how visits like these so positively affect our amazing kids.”
(Video & images: The Children’s Institute)