What's better than a birthday surprise party? A surprise party full of new friends!
Keimon is a delightful person and an absolute joy to be around. He has a passion for football, and his smile and good nature are infectious. When we heard he had a birthday coming up, we knew it would be the perfect time to introduce him to his new role models, Justin, Dom, and Sterling of the Duquesne football team!
Justin, Dom, and Sterling were the special guests at Keimon's surprise birthday party. A surprise within a surprise! The guys played video games together before the party (another passion of Keimon's) and enjoyed cake and ice cream with the family. They all agreed they had a wonderful time ad are already planning their next visit! Keimon was so excited to have special friends there just for him and is looking forward to his new friends visiting again soon!
Meet A'Mir - who has a strong love for football, which is why we matched him with a few of the Pitt Football players: Jimmy, Mike, & Jake! After their initial meeting at the Peterson Event Center, A'Mir claimed Pitt to be his favorite team. Although shy at first, A'Mir wanted to hang out with the boys again and hopefully attend a spring practice sometime soon. Lucky for him, the guys were all about making this happen!
After meeting his role models on campus, the guys scheduled a practice for A'Mir to come watch.
Practice was a lot of fun, having the chance to meet the rest of the team and even throw a couple of passes to some of the players. A'Mir enjoyed visiting the Pitt Football practice facility, and played a pickup game with the coach and his role models!
After attending a Saturday morning practice with the team, A'Mir also attended their spring Blue/Gold game last weekend!
A'Mir excitedly took the field as the guys geared up for their game at Heinz Field. He was able to enjoy the game from the media press box, and even got to meet reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year and former Pitt Panther, Aaron Donald! He also had the chance to meet the new Pitt Basketball coach - Jeff Chapel.
Needless to say, A'Mir has loved hanging out with Jimmy, Mike, and Jake so far. He can't wait to see them again soon and enjoy more Pitt Football events!
Colten was a reserved, shy kid when we first met him. We knew Colten was interested in sports and could use a good friend. We had two friends in mind for Colten - Matt and Ryan, players on the Pitt football team! Little did we know… Colten’s parents were both graduates of Penn State!
While there was a little poking fun at first, especially as the revival of the Pitt - Penn State game grew near, the competition didn’t stop Colten, Matt, and Ryan from becoming fast friends. Matt and Ryan were a little nervous at first - they weren’t sure if Colten liked them! But after the first two visits it was clear that Matt, Ryan, and Colten would be lifelong friends. They’ve been there waiting for Colten every time he had a visit scheduled at Children’s, and the three musketeers have had a lot of fun talking sports, playing an epic three-hour game of life, and just hanging out!
In spite of his family’s Penn State allegiance, Colten is now a converted Pitt football fan! We’ve even seen Colten’s Dad wearing a Pitt t-shirt around!
Tell us, are you a Pittsburgh Panther or Penn State Nittany Lion???
Meet Yaheim, who loves football, and could not wait to meet a member of the legendary Steel Curtain Defense. During their first meeting, J.T. described his childhood growing up in the south. He told Yaheim and his family how he would march for equality alongside Martin Luther King Jr. The captivating story truly formed a bridge between generations.
J.T. is no stranger to adversity. He worked hard to break the color barriers by becoming the first African American to play football at Florida State University. In 1973, J.T. was drafted in the very first round by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Today, J.T. is the owner of the Black-N-Gold Cheesecake Company. Additionally, J.T. serves as a deacon and a Sunday school teacher at Macedonia Church of Pittsburgh Pennsylvania.
J.T. Thomas, who has overcome so much adversity, looked at Yaheim and told him that he was a warrior.
The staff, children, and families of CCChampions would like to wish you and your family/friends a Happy New Year!
Good friends and good food make for a winning #FriendshipFriday combination! Colten and Ryan got to catch up a few weeks ago when they met for lunch at the cheesecake factory. Ryan told us that the best moment was when Colten took off his hat had a head full of hair!
By: Amit Shimshi
As a Friendship Assistant at CCChampions, I learned all about the organization’s mission to bring smiles to our kids’ faces. Working alongside Sidney, Jen, and Coy, I’ve shared happy, exciting moments with the CCChampions family. I was thrilled to experience first-hand the remarkable impact CCChampions has on our kids and their families when the team hung out with Yaheim, the sweetest 11-year-old boy! Sidney, Jen, Coy and I met Yaheim and his family for an exciting day at Kennywood. We shared laughs and smiles along with a Kennywood-must: Potato Patch fries!
Yaheim is one brave dude, eager to mount the scariest rides at the park! Our first ride was the Sky Rocket, a twisty roller coaster that launches zero to 50 mph in 3 seconds. Despite the Sky Rocket’s turbo blast off, Yaheim climbed on it with ease! Later in the day, he dared all of us to take on the most stomach turning ride of all- the Black Widow. Accepting the challenge, we all hopped on the terrifying ride and screamed from the top of our lungs. We all became closer (figuratively, and literally) as we fit into one tiny turtle on the Turtle Chase! The ride’s fast turns had us smashing into each other and laughing uncontrollably. It was so much fun to share such lighthearted moments with Yaheim and his family!
I loved spending time with Yaheim, his family, and the CCChampions crew, and can’t wait for another adventure. Here are a couple of our favorite moments captured on camera!
by Mia DiBagno
When I first met the very-outgoing Teddy, I knew that finding him a CCChampions Friend would be a TALL order! At the time, I didn't know that this would literally be 6-feet-5-inches!!
At a very highly anticipated Induction Ceremony, Teddy first met his friend, Justin Hartwig -- former Pittsburgh Steelers star Center, Super Bowl XLIII Champion, and all-around big dude! When Teddy first saw Justin, he exclaimed, "WOW! You're huge!" and broke the ice with big laughs (pun intended).
Justin and his daughter, Teddy and his parents, and the CCChampions crew had a day of fun and laughs! While wearing Justin's Super Bowl ring, Teddy looked at his new Friend and joked, "Where's your ring, Justin?"
Throughout the day, Teddy and his parents really connected with Justin! They bonded over hunting, dogs, and their mutually strong faiths in God.
This was a great kick-start to a Friendship, and Teddy said he loved it all!
Check out a few of the moments we snapped on camera:
Types of Friendships