Facility is a home to keep foster children together with their siblings
Members of the Gulf Coast League Pirates, who play their games at Pirate City in Bradenton, visited the Everyday Blessings, Inc. residential facility in Sarasota Thursday. Members of the team have visited the facility several times during the last four months as part of the Pirates Community Commitment Program.
EBI provides foster care to sibling groups to keep siblings from being separated while awaiting permanent placement. The Sarasota facility opened in February. The original facility is in Hillsborough County.
When players visit, they eat dinner with the children and live-in caretakers at the residential facility. After dinner, the players take part in outdoor sports activities and games with the children. There are currently 12 children housed in Sarasota with EBI, ranging in age from three to 11 years old. All of the children are part of a sibling group.
Emily Dutton, the Sarasota Residential Manager for EBI, said the children love it when the players come to visit. “I think they enjoy seeing there are other people in the community that understand and support them,” Dutton said.
Many of the children have had to face abuse and neglect in their old homes prior to being placed with EBI. “It’s important for them to see that through hard work you can accomplish your goals and aspirations despite circumstances that aren’t always ideal,” Dutton said. “The young men who come to visit understand that life isn’t always perfect or easy. Some of them have dealt with tough circumstances to get where they are now.”
The Pirates Community Commitment Program was created in 2008 to help players in the Pirates organization give back to the communities they play in. Players are required to do 10 hours of community service during the season, but most do many more.