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Clark makes his rookie debut during visit to Advocate Illinois Masonic

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CHICAGO - Clark, the newly-introduced Chicago Cubs mascot, joined more than a dozen prospects in the Cubs Rookie Development Program to visit children at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center's Pediatric Developmental Center. Together, they helped reinforce positive activities being taught to children with autism and other developmental challenges.

Clark was joined at Advocate Illinois Masonic by Cubs prospects Albert Almora, Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, C.J. Edwards, Kyle Hendricks, Pierce Johnson, Eric Jokisch, Mike Olt, Neil Ramirez, Armando Rivero, Rubi Silva, Jorge Soler, Christian Villanueva and Arodys Vizcaino.

The players divided into four rooms and hosted activities for the children and their siblings, including an interview room where kids asked questions of players and practiced social skills; a reading room where players and kids looked at pictures of Wrigley Field and read stories about baseball; a game room where kids practiced sportsmanship in matches against their Cubs counterparts; and a gym where Clark and players stressed the importance of learning from others through pre-activity stretching drills and practiced motor activity skills during a ball-toss drill.

The Cubs and Advocate Illinois Masonic structured the visit to reinforce positive activities already being taught as part of the hospital's autism and social skills treatment program. In return, players in the Cubs Rookie Development Program were able to experience the positive community interaction expected of players at the Major League level, and specifically, as a member of the Chicago Cubs. Clark's debut added an extra learning opportunity, as kids spent the week leading up to the event learning about baseball and mascots in preparation for his special visit.

"Advocate Health Care and the Chicago Cubs share a commitment to enhancing the wellness of our communities. This event is a great example of two caring brands working together to raise awareness about autism and other developmental challenges while providing a fun experience for our young patients and their dedicated caregivers," said Kelly Jo Golson, senior vice president and chief marketing officer of Advocate Health Care.

This Thursday, Clark will join the Cubs 100 Gifts of Service 2014 Caravan Tour of players, coaches and front office personnel. He will visit the Casals School of Excellence in Humboldt Park to interact with kids and help Cubs associates paint murals, build benches and cabinets for reading spaces, and redesign a room for academic tutoring.

Players in the Cubs Rookie Development Program will conclude their weeklong program in Chicago, then meet and greet with fans, sign autographs and take photos at this weekend's Cubs Convention.

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