A full house of nearly 200 people attended the fourth annual Heart of Buckner Amarillo fundraiser at the Amarillo Botanical Gardens. The evening featured a moderated conversation between Houston Astros catcher Robinson Chirinos (formerly with the Texas Rangers, 2013-2018) and former Amarillo Globe-News sports editor and columnist Jon Mark Beilue.
 
Chirinos, who will report for spring training with the Astros next week, discussed his childhood and the impact of baseball on his life. He also shared his thoughts on the importance of faith, community and service, as well as his work over the years with Buckner International.
 
When asked about his time with the Texas Rangers, Chirinos said, “Playing with the Rangers was a blessing – not only playing but being in Texas and meeting the people of Buckner.”
 
“Buckner cares about people,” added Chirinos when asked about his relationship with the nonprofit. “They find ways to help people and give back to the community. I feel blessed to be able to work with them and help tell others about their work.”
 
The evening also featured the debut of a short film documenting the story of Nayron, a boy described as the happiest baby ever by those with Buckner Foster Care and Adoption who helped find Nayron his forever home.
 
All proceeds from the event will stay in the Amarillo community to benefit the children and families served in this area by Buckner since 1985. In Amarillo, Buckner offers a wide variety of services to children, families and single mothers with a goal of building the necessary skills and knowledge they need to succeed in life, including Buckner Family Pathways, Buckner Foster Care and Adoption, and the FYi Center.
 
In 2018, Buckner Amarillo’s impact on the community included helping 83 children find healing in a loving foster home, 22 families break the cycle of poverty and receive and education, 18 children placed in a forever home through adoption, 10 foster care teens graduate high school, 6 single mothers learn self-sufficiency, and 103 teens unlock doors to a successful future through education.
 
“We are so extremely thankful for every single one of our sponsors, for everyone in the community who came out, and of course for Robinson Chirinos and Jon Mark Beilue,” said Kathy McGee, senior executive director of Buckner Children and Family Services in Amarillo. “The evening was a tremendous success, and the funds raised will help us to continue our more than 30-year history of serving vulnerable children and families in the Amarillo area.”

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