Parents of kids with special needs get free nights out thanks to Russell Salvatore


ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) — Parents who have kids with special needs are getting the chance to have a day or night out thanks to local business owner, Russell Salvatore. He sponsors a day and night out for parents twice a month, at Sensational Fun in Orchard Park.

“You feel a sense of warmth when you walk in here,” Kristen Coffee said, a mother of seven. “Your kids are immediately welcomed and just loved on for who they are, and there’s no judgement.”

At Sensational Fun there are a variety of sensory activities for kids of all abilities to go and play, make friends and just be themselves. Kristen and David Coffee frequently drop their kids off there. They have seven children; four of their kids have special needs.

“All of our kids with special needs are non-verbal, but the neat thing is that they all kind of understand each other,” Kristen said. “They don’t have to be verbal to play and enjoy one another.”

And twice a month is a special Parents night/day out at Sensational Fun. For 2.5 hours, parents can drop off their kids at the fun play space and go run errands or just relax.

“Sometimes we just drink coffee in silence.”

And those sessions are all free… thanks to Russell Salvatore.

“It makes me feel great; very, very good,” Salvatore said. “I always feel good when I give back to the community.”

This is the third year the business owner has sponsored these two sessions a month. Russell’s business partner, Mark Jerge, has family members with special needs, and donating to the cause means a lot to the two men.

“That’s what we do every night, we entertain guests that are on date nights, so it really made a lot of sense,” Jerge said.

Many times, these families can’t get a babysitter for a night out because of a child’s specific medial needs. And all those medical costs make it difficult to pay for a date night anyway. But thanks to Russ Salvatore, they don’t have to worry about their kids not being safe, or worry about paying for some much-needed alone time.

“Every time we walk out to the car, we’re like, ‘Thank you Russell!'” Kristen Coffee said. “I mean, we always think in the back of our minds, ‘thank you.’ Thank you for thinking that we were important enough, and our kids were important enough, and worthy to be loved on the way they do.”

And when Russell visited Sensational Fun on Monday, he felt inspired to help the families even more. He’s now going to do a special giveaway for those families, offering a free steak dinner at Russell’s Steaks Chops and more, and an overnight stay in a suite at Salvatores Grand Hotel.

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