LYMAN, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- 2012 is the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park, and to celebrate, the Boston Red Sox have been committing 100 acts of kindness as a way to say thanks to their legions of loyal fans.
On Tuesday, a chartered bus pulled in to the Briarwood Children's House in Lyman with three current Sox players and Wally the Green Monster on board. The stop was the first of many on a planned three-day, six-state tour of New England to say thanks and meet with fans young and old alike.
"I like playing baseball. Mostly, I like hitting homeruns," explained Kyle Landry, who was excited to meet a Red Sox player for the first time. "I like pitching and all that."
The visit was a chance for players to meet with kids, their families and staff, take some pictures, sign some autographs, and learn about the work being done to help kids with hearing disabilities.
"You know, we come in and it is so special for them, and I think it is more special for us, because you get to see what they are learning," stated Sox pitcher Mark Melancon. "The kids that can't hear, it is just so nice to see that they have been given a device that will allow them to hear just like we do, and they are so thankful. You see that in their faces."
Briarwood Children's House has one of eight classrooms in the state that works with Hear ME Now to help kids that have hearing disabilities remain in their community and in their schools with kids their own age.
"What we are trying to do is give communities and community schools the resources that they need to educate their children with hearing loss right in their own facilities," explained Hear ME Now's executive director, Pam Dawson.
She says they are working with the state and preschools to provide experts with equipment and training to make the necessary tweaks to their schools programs to help kids, with a goal of creating a network of schools with their own expertise on helping kids with hearing loss.
"It is fun to come out here and see the progress that they are making, and just see the technology that has come out to help these kids," said Sox pitcher, Chris Carpenter. "It is amazing. It is really remarkable to see how good the kids are doing."
Former Portland Sea Dog outfielder, Ryan Kalish, who has been battling injuries for much of the past two years, says visits like this help put his own problems in perspective.
"I've been blessed and have been fortunate to not have any problems growing up," stated Kalish. "It makes everyday a lot easier for me to see how happy these kids are with a little bit less."
After spending time taking pictures and talking with the kids and their parents, the players shuffled back on to the bus, bound for another stop to spread holiday cheer to fans young and old alike.