The Mighty Penguins Organization, nominated by Kyle Burgess, won the Jefferson Award for Public Service Team of 2016. Each organization nominated shared their stories of what a volunteer can do to bring positive influences to so many worthy causes. The Mighty Penguin Board Members accepting the award were touched, moved and informed of organizations making a difference every day in our hometown of Pittsburgh.
We thank the Post-Gazette, BNY Mellon and Highmark for sponsoring the award and ceremony at the Heinz History Center.
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More about the Jefferson Award:
Named for Thomas Jefferson, one of America’s most influential Founding Fathers and the principal author of the Declaration of Independence, the Jefferson Awards’ central tenet is that each and every citizen shares a responsibility to work toward the betterment of their communities through economic participation, public service, volunteerism and other such efforts to improve life for all. Today, the mission of the Jefferson Awards is to recognize, inspire and activate volunteerism and public service in communities, workplaces and schools across America. To date, more than 50,000 individuals, including many prominent Americans, have been recognized by the Jefferson Awards for their efforts to make the world a better place. For more information, visit www.jeffersonawards.org.
CRANBERRY TWP., PA – (JUNE 1, 2017) – The Pittsburgh Mighty Penguins are proud to announce that it has received a $5,400 Quality of Life grant from the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation. The award was one of 102 grants totaling $721,425 awarded by the Reeve Foundation to nonprofit organizations nationwide that provide more opportunities, access, and daily quality of life for individuals living with paralysis, their families, and caregivers. Conceived by the late Dana Reeve, the program has awarded over 2,900 grants totaling over $20 million since 1999. Funding for the grants is made available through the Paralysis Resource Center (PRC) operated by the Reeve Foundation under a cooperative agreement with the Administration for Community Living in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The Mighty Penguins Sled Hockey operates therapeutic and competitive ice hockey programs for the benefit of physically disabled individuals in Pennsylvania and adjacent areas. With the grant, the Mighty Penguins purchased eight new hockey sleds, of which three were specialty sleds with extra support, and eight sets of hockey sticks. The additional hockey sleds and sticks have given the organization the ability to serve even more children and adults with disabilities.
The grants awarded in the second cycle of 2016 were distributed among a wide variety of categories, including recreation, sports and leisure, advocacy, equipment and other independent living-related services. A significant number of projects focus on community re-integration initiatives such as assistive technology programs, home accessibility modifications, accessible transportation, and accessible playgrounds that create more community opportunities for those living with paralysis and their families.
“It’s important to find balance while filling the needs of the community, especially those living in underserved areas,” said Donna Valente, Director of Quality of Life Grants. “People may live only a few blocks from an outstanding adaptive recreation program, but if they don’t have a ramp to get out of their homes or accessible transportation to get to that location, they can’t participate in the activity, and we really aren’t meeting the overall goal of this program. That’s why we examine every proposed project to see the impact it will have in the community, and try to determine how we can best help them reach their full potential.”
About the Reeve Foundation
The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation is dedicated to curing spinal cord injury by funding innovative research and improving the quality of life for people living with paralysis through grants, information and advocacy. The Paralysis Resource Center (PRC) is the support side of the Reeve Foundation’s twin missions to provide “Today’s Care” and to strive for “Tomorrow’s Cure” and offers a free, comprehensive, national source of informational support for individuals living with paralysis and their caregivers. We meet all 20 of the Better Business Bureau’s standards for charity accountability and hold the BBB’s Charity Seal. For more information, please visit our website at www.ChristopherReeve.org or call 800-539-7309.
About the Mighty Penguins Sled Hockey
In 1998, volunteers from Shriner’s Hospital for Children in Erie introduced the sport of sled hockey to Pittsburgh and the Mighty Penguins were born! Initially the goal was to provide children and young adults with physical disabilities the opportunity to participate in a competitive sport. The parents and guardians of these players have seen firsthand the physical and emotional benefits of the program. Many local organizations have helped our program by donating ice time, equipment, customized hockey gear and insurance. Individuals throughout the Greater Pittsburgh area volunteer their time and talents to educate and assist our players.
Mighty Penguins Sled Hockey
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(973) 379-2690 ext. 7123
By Abby (age 17)
Over the weekend, a handful of our Junior team and their families traveled to London, Ontario for a very exciting weekend. The players were: Alex Brown, Darrion Allensworth, James Humphreys, Abby McCormick, Danny Shanholtzer, Ellie Shanholtzer, Dominic Tarquinio, AJ Vazquez, and Brea Vazquez. I had midterm exams that morning so my family and I drove up Friday afternoon and unfortunately missed the first game at 4:45 p.m. against the Ohio Arctic Wolves. The rest of the team worked extremely hard and won with a final score of 6-1! Goals were made by Alex Brown, Darrion Allensworth, James Humphreys, Danny Shanholtzer, and Ellie Shanholtzer. Our second game took place on Saturday morning at 10:15 and was another huge success! We defeated the Buffalo Sabres with a score of 7-0! There was a lot of great teamwork shown during this game and a lot of great saves by our goalie AJ Vasquez and I even scored my first tournament goal! This has definitely been the highlight of my first two years playing sled hockey. The third game was against the Hamilton Sledgehammers at 4:30 p.m. We won again with the final score being 5-0. Darrion, Alex and James scored during this game. We were all ecstatic to be undefeated and make it into the Semi-Finals the next morning! It was quite a different feeling from last year when we didn’t win any games at this tournament. To celebrate our success, we all went to dinner at a restaurant called Shoeless Joe’s and had a lot of fun together. Unfortunately, we lost in the Semi-Finals to the Durham Steelhawks. It was a very close game ending with 4-3. We went home with 3rd place out of 8. Overall, we had an awesome tournament with a lot of incredible teamwork and scored a total of 21 goals throughout the weekend. Everyone played a huge part in our success throughout the weekend. We also could never do this without the help of our awesome coaches! This was definitely one of my favorite tournaments yet.
A few of our players bring you into the game action at the SPIDA Sled Hockey Tournament in Columbus, OH January 14-15. The Mighty Penguins entered two teams–first time ever (Go Black & Gold)! We continue to grow and develop our players now over 50 strong. Enjoy reading about the games through the eyes of our amazing players!
An Epic Weekend of Hockey in Columbus, Ohio
By Ekow (Age 10)
My name is Ekow, and I am on the novice team with the awesome Mighty Penguins. Last weekend, I went to a sled hockey tournament in Columbus Ohio and it was amazing! I enjoyed every moment, not only because I got to spend more time with my coaches and teammates, but also because I stayed in a fun hotel with a pool and got to eat out with my family and friends. Who doesn’t like to eat out?! This was my very first tournament away from Pittsburgh since I am new to the team this year. It was also my first time playing defense because I was goalie for the last tournament. I don’t mind being goalie, but playing defense was much more fun.
We played four games in all, against Nashville, Johnstown, Columbus and Cincinnati. We won 2 games and lost 2, but I felt our team kept getting stronger and stronger. My favorite game was the one against Nashville. They had a very strong team that made it to our side of the rink often. That meant I had lots of chances to defend our goal. It was a tough and exciting game, and the Cincinnati team played hard and fast. I really enjoyed negotiating my way through all those players, finding the puck and shooting it across the ice to the other side. Four minutes on the ice felt like 4 seconds! We ended up winning that game 2 to 1 but did not make it to the championship game.
For me, this was an epic tournament. I had the best time in Columbus and I wish I could go back every single weekend. I have started begging my parents to take me to all the remaining tournaments. Thank you to our hosts in Columbus for being so nice and welcoming, and to my coaches and teammates for making hockey such a fun experience for me. See you at the next tournament!
Fun Weekend in Columbus
By Danny (Age 9)
We just got back from a sled hockey tournament in Columbus, Ohio. It was really fun! The Mighty Penguins sent two teams. They were called Pittsburgh Black and Pittsburgh Gold. I was on the Black team.
On Friday, my dad and I drove 3 hours to get there. Our first game was on Saturday morning against the Nashville Sled Preds. They were really fast and hard-hitting. We lost, 4-1. I was disappointed to lose the game, but it made me feel a little better because I scored a goal. That was only my second goal ever in a game.
Our second game was against the Johnstown Sitting Bulls, one of our rivals. It was an exciting game. We fell behind, 1-0, but then my teammate, Phoenix, scored to tie the game. Then James, Kristofer, and Phoenix scored to put us ahead, 4-1. Johnstown scored to cut into the lead, but then I scored again to make the final 5-2.
Our third game was early on Sunday morning. It was against the Columbus Blades. They were fast and communicated well on the ice. We went ahead early in the first period, but they came back and tied it before the break. Neither team scored in the second period. It was 1-1 starting the third period. Both teams played hard, but Columbus scored and then held on to win, 2-1.
Our fourth game was versus the Cincinnati Ice Breakers. They had some big players, and their novice line was really good, but we won, 2-1. Phoenix scored both goals, and Abby had some great stops on defense, especially when Cincinnati had a power play.
It was a great tournament. We finished with 2 wins and 2 losses. So did the Gold team. Our goalie, AJ, played for both teams. He did a great job. So did all of my other teammates, including our novices: James, Owen, Nathan, Ekow, and Callie. For some of them, it was their first away tournament. I can’t wait for our next tournament!
Written By: Mighty Penguin Alex (Age 11)
On the weekend of November 12, 2016, the Junior-Novice team took part in a tournament in Wooster, Ohio. There were three other teams in the tournament: Wooster, Nashville, and Grand Rapids. On Saturday, the 12th, my dad and I woke up at 4:30 a.m. and drove two and a half hours to Wooster. We were the first people at the rink, and ready for an exciting day of hockey.
Our first game at 7:40am was against Wooster. The first two goals scored were by Wooster and it was 2-0 at the end of the second period. In the middle of the third period, Darrion Allensworth scored twice and tied the game. The game ended in a tie at 2-2. Our second game was against the Nashville Sled Preds. The first goal was scored by Nashville to make it 1-0. In the second period, I tied it up. Nashville took the lead back and it was 2-1. In the third period, Darrion scored to tie it at 2, and that was the final score. That was the end to an exciting day of hockey in Wooster.
Later, my dad and I went to the hotel to check in. We had plans to go to dinner with my grandparents and a few other players. We went to dinner and had fun with each other with stories of the games we played that day.
Early Sunday morning we had a game against the Grand Rapids Sled Wings. The game definitely was not our best work and we lost 5 to 0. We were on to the constellation game against Wooster. We took the lead early with a novice goal by Jacob Buchanan. Then Wooster tied it up in the second period to make it 1 to 1. In the third period, Darrion scored to give us the lead 2 to 1. We held on to our lead and won the game. We came in third place and were 1-1-2 through the tournament. It was a great tournament and I can’t wait for the next one!
The Mighty Penguins has partnered with DICK’S Sporting Goods who has provided generous donations of equipment and jerseys to our athletes over the years. We are excited to be an early adopter of their latest venture, Team Sports HQ. Through their affiliate partner, Blue Sombrero, DICK’S is able to offer this unique service to teams.
Our Mighty Penguins FanWear Store offers several price points of apparel items including Under Armour for youth, women and men. You can customize colors to create your favorite look. Items are shipped directly to you from the FanWear Store and Blue Sombrero handles returns. A percentage of each sale will go directly to Mighty Penguins fundraising efforts.
Don’t see what you are looking for? We are open to suggestions! More products are being added throughout the year. The Mighty Penguins has our prior inventory of products available, too including hats in our equipment room for sale.
Check out our Store at link below: