WORCESTER -- Thirteen individuals served by Open Sky Community Services had the unique opportunity of getting to know Worcester Bravehearts baseball players this season through the team’s Pen Pal Program. The summer-long program culminated with a cookout at Fitton Field on Aug. 11 where the pen pals were able to meet in person.
The Community Membership team at Open Sky coordinated with Dave Peterson, Bravehearts general manager, and Nate Gonelli, director of sales, to connect individuals served by Open Sky with Worcester Bravehearts players. The pen pals corresponded back and forth through a journal over the course of the summer to help the Bravehearts players feel welcome in Central Mass.
The individuals served by Open Sky who participate in the program had intellectual/developmental disabilities, mental health challenges or brain injury. This was an opportunity for them to be a part of the community and form a connection with the players.
At the season-ending cookout, individuals from Open Sky gave baseball caps with the agency’s logo to their Bravehearts pen pals and in return received signed books, baseball cards and Bravehearts baseball caps. Peterson welcomed the individuals from Open Sky, and Matt Small, COO of Open Sky, was in attendance as well. Everyone had a chance to talk, get autographs and take photos. Several of the pen pals exchanged information and plan to stay in touch even once the season has ended. The individuals from Open Sky attended the game that evening and Lori Holden, an individual served by the agency, got to take home a pop-fly ball after it landed near her and a kind baseball fan helped her grab the ball.