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A's catcher hosts benefit auction for School of Imagination

Stephen Vogt, wife aim to help Dublin program for special-needs children

Oakland Athletics All-Star catcher Stephen Vogt and his wife, Alyssa, are hosting an online benefit auction for special-needs children at the School of Imagination & Happy Talkers in Dublin.

The auction kicked off last week and will continue until 11:59 p.m. tomorrow.

"We love the ability to not only spend time with but help these kids feel important every time we get to go there," Vogt said in a statement.

"School of Imagination helps children with all types of disabilities -- from autism to social issues -- come to a school and be accepted for who they are, receive the best evaluation and get put into a program that will help them eventually get into a public school," he added.

Located on Dublin Boulevard, School of Imagination is a preschool for all children ages 2 to 6 and Happy Talkers is an individualized program for children under the age of 10. The School of Imagination provides an inclusion program for children with special needs from across the Bay Area.

Vogt and his wife organized the auction, with items provided by A's players and their significant others. All proceeds will go to special-needs children through the Vogt Family Fund for School of Imagination.

In addition to organizing the benefit, Vogt makes regular visits to the school, teaching classes and coaching baseball. He also hosts the children at A's batting practice and games, school officials said.

"We are so privileged to have the A's support and Stephen's dedication to our children," School of Imagination co-founders Charlene and Mitch Sigman stated. "Our kiddos get so much out of their time together. Children with autism and disabilities don't have the same opportunities as other kids."

"So when Stephen visits, it's a chance to learn and play in a familiar and comfortable environment, with a wonderful person and role model of perseverance. He's an absolute inspiration for our children and families," the Sigmans added.

Online auction items include Oakland Athletics-themed packages with A's signed memorabilia, wine and gift cards. Some are packaged as "once-in-a-lifetime" experiences such as access to A's batting practice and field-level tickets or passes to the San Francisco Zoo that include an Adopt-An-Animal certificate of an African lion.

Bidders can access the auction through Vogtfund.org

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