Oriole Bird to lead Walk for the Kids

The Oriole bird takes a bow on the pitcher’s mound at Ed Smith Stadium. Photo by Norman Schimmel

The Oriole Bird will lead the annual Walk for the Kids in support of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County on Sept. 15 at Ed Smith Stadium, the Orioles’ spring training home, the Orioles have announced.

In addition to sponsoring individual walkers or creating their own teams, members of the public may “pledge the Bird” to support the four clubs, which are located in Newtown, central Sarasota, Venice and North Port.

For the Walk, hundreds of adults and children will gather at Ed Smith Stadium on 12th Street to raise awareness about the Boys & Girls Clubs’ vision: children and youth achieving academic success, living healthful lifestyles and becoming good stewards of our community, an Orioles news release says.

“We are thrilled that the Orioles are a lead partner in the Walk, which is the major annual fundraiser for our clubs, where we strive to provide a world-class experience that assures success is within reach of every young person who walks through our doors,” said Bill Sadlo, president and CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County, in the release.

“Our goal is to have all members on track to graduate from high school with a plan for the future, demonstrating good character and citizenship and living a healthy lifestyle. Our clubs provide after-school and summer programs for more than 5,500 children and youth ages 6 to 18 throughout Sarasota County,” he added.

“The Boys & Girls Clubs and Major League Baseball share a special, national partnership,” said Laura Williams, the Orioles’ director of Florida operations. “It was a natural fit for the Orioles to donate our celebrity mascot, the Oriole Bird, to promote the major annual fundraiser for our local clubs in Sarasota County.”

Williams added, “The Orioles strongly encourage Sarasota County residents to ‘pledge the Bird’ and support the Boys & Girls Clubs, an organization that is helping to shape the future of our community by influencing youth in a positive way.”

In addition to leading the Walk, the Bird will appear in TV spots, visit the clubs for special campaign events and “fly” into local businesses that are major sponsors of the walk, the news release says.

“We will also host the Walk for the Kids event at Ed Smith Stadium. This is all part of our Sarasota 365 outreach program demonstrating the Orioles’ year-round engagement with the community,” Williams said.

The cost to participate in the walk is $25 for adults; it is free for children under 18. Participants will complete a 1-mile circuit around the outside of the stadium, then enter the stadium “for lots of fun, free activities,” the news release says.

For more information and to “pledge the Bird,” visit www.walkforthekids.com.