Taylor-Bay Sutton has done community service before but nothing quite like what she experienced at Home of the Innocents.
Sutton and her 18 Long Island University Post field hockey teammates visited the non-profit agency on Wednesday morning. LIU Post is in town as part of the NCAA Division II National Championships Fall Festival.
According to the NCAA, more than 700 student-athletes will interact with local youth in community outreach projects this week at the Home of the Innocents, Nativity Academy, three Boys and Girls Clubs, eight Jefferson County public elementary schools and three YMCA branches.
The LIU Post field hockey team went to the Home of the Innocents’ Kosair Charities Pediatric Convalescent Center. The KCPCC is a home for medically fragile children, ages birth to 21. This facility is for individuals who require 24-hour nursing care.
The players handed out Christmas stockings filled with coloring books, stickers, crayons, and puzzles.
Last year at Virginia Beach, Sutton said the team went to schools and taught field hockey. She said this was a better experience.
“This is definitely more rewarding,” Sutton said. “It’s nice to see children in different ways. It was nice to be able see children who can’t really go out in the world and see what other children can do.”
Dani Crouse said her favorite part was being with the non-verbal children.
“It was nice to see their reactions when we were playing with them, telling stories,” Crouse said. “Even if was a tiny smile, a little twitch of the arm.”
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The KCPCC currently houses 76 children. According to KCPCC activities coordinator Mary Jane Marty, there is a benefit to having visitors.
“We do provide community access for any of our children who are medically able to do that,” she said. “But it is a huge production in terms of busses and coordinating medical personnel. So it doesn’t happen often. Having a group come in really provides a lot of stimulation for our children.”
To volunteer or donate to Home of the Innocents, please visit the website: homeoftheinnocents.org.