By Denise Richardson Staff Writer
The Daily Star
---- — Sixty-five Springbrook community members will be bound for a Yankees game in New York City on Thursday.
Organizers said they knew of no other field trip that involved as large a Springbrook group or required traveling such a distance. And they credited Karen and Bill Mirabito of Oneonta with the generosity to provide $5,500 that makes the trip possible.
“It’s going to be great,” said Bill Mirabito, a member of the Springbrook Board of Directors who plans to be part of the group. “I’m going to have more fun than the kids.”
Forty Springbrook students, residents and clients will rise early Thursday morning for the road trip to Yankee Stadium. A bus and two vans will pick up fans at Springbrook sites at about 7:30 a.m. for the game against the Toronto Blue Jays starting at about 1 p.m. The group will be accompanied by 25 Springbrook staffers, organizers said.
Springbrook, with offices in Oneonta and sites in the area, provides living, educational and other services to about 850 children and adults with developmental disabilities, Kira DeLanoy, assistant director of marketing and public relations, said. The Yankees fans come from among the many Springbrook offerings, which include day school, residence, recreation and skills-instruction programs.
Mirabito, vice president at Mirabito Holdings Inc. and an Oneonta Town Board councilman, joined the Springbrook board of directors last September. Previously, he served on a related Foundation board in the late 1990s, he said.
Mirabito said he was talking with a Springbrook student about eight months ago and sharing his enthusiasm for Yankees and the many games he watched on television.
“He wished he could go to a game,” said Mirabito, who followed up with an invitation. “Before I knew it, he had invited all his buddies.
“I feel honored that I’m in a position that I can bring some joy to their lives,” Mirabito said.
Springbrook officials said they asked directors throughout the divisions about checking on who would be interested and able to go on the trip. And the staff is prepared to meet the transportation, medication and other requirements of the special-needs population, they said.
Bill Mirabito has “a great way” of identifying needs at Springbrook, which has benefited multiple times from his generosity, Stacey Grady, assistant director of development, said. For a large group to go to a Yankee game is an uncommon, she said.
“It’s pretty exciting,” Grady said. “It’s a big undertaking, but it’s going to be so worth it.”
Mirabito applauded Grady’s work to arrange the trip of about 175 miles between Oneonta and the stadium in the Bronx.
“She’s done a wonderful job organizing this,” he said.
And those in the Springbrook community, or interested others, who aren’t going Thursday may check on the trip through social media. DeLanoy said she would be documenting participants’ reactions and excitement. Postings throughout the day will be made at Twitter at https://twitter.com/springbrookny and on Springbrook’s Facebook page, she said, and after the event at Flickr at www.flickr.com/photos/springbrookny.
DeLanoy said the group will be in field-level seats on the first-base side, which is an area promoted as a good place to watching batting practice and catch foul balls.
“For many of the individuals participating in the outing, a trip to Yankee Stadium is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity,” she said in a email.