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Pittsburghers Celebrate World Kindness Day By Honoring Mister Rogers

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - In celebration of World Kindness Day, Pittsburghers -- including adorable newborn babies -- are wearing cardigans to honor Mister Rogers.

As part of World Kindness Day and WQED's 65th anniversary, the station and home to Mister Rogers declared Nov. 13 Cardigan Day.

At Magee-Womens Hospital, it was red letter day. More accurately, it was a red sweater day.

Each bundle of joy in the maternity ward was decked out in a hand-crocheted red sweaters in honor of Fred Rogers for World Kindness Day. Mister Rogers' wife Joanne got to meet the six adorable newborn babies.

mrs rogers cardigan babies
(Photo Credit: KDKA's Rick Dayton)

"Well, I am an old lady, and I just love babies." Joanne Rogers laughed, cocked her head and continued, "I don't know many people who don't love little babies."

One of the babies is Mary Lewandowski. Her proud parents are Michael and Kristin.

"When I was watching Mister Rogers, just his lessons of kindness and acceptance of everyone certainly stuck with me," said mom Kristin. "It is something that we hope to teach her as well."

Kristin's husband Michael remembers watching Mister Rogers' Neighborhood with his grandmother.

"Now we named our daughter after her. Her name is Mary as well," he said. "And we'll look forward to watching Mister Rogers' Neighborhood with her our daughter one day."

Mary was born Sunday evening, and the family was thrilled to be part of the big day before heading home as a family of three. Mary will be bundled up in her red sweater made by a nurse on the floor.

Caitlin Pechin says she learned how to crochet when she worked in the gift shop at Magee-Womens Hospital. Now she is a registered nurse. She volunteered to make the outfits for the new babies.

"It's more just something I do for fun, and I really enjoy making things for babies because they look so cute in them," Pechin says.

Each sweater took Pechin between two and three hours to make. It took another 30 minutes to make the booties to complete the outfits.

mister rogers babies 2
(Photo Credit: KDKA)

While Joanne Rogers didn't get one of Pechin's handmade garments, she was wearing one of Fred's real sweaters. She knew it was one of his older sweaters.

"I think it was an early one that didn't have the zipper," she says. "He went to zippers because when he was buttoning, he would come out uneven on the bottom."

upmc mister rogers babies 1
(Photo Credit: KDKA)

She kept laughing as she told the story about her husband's issues with buttons.

Joanne says her late husband would have loved to meet the babies and to talk with their parents. He would have been flattered to know his message of kindness lives on after his death.

"I think Fred is doing what he can -- with a little help from his friends," Joanne says.

Yesterday, newborns at AHN West Penn Hospital also donned red sweaters, ties and bow ties to prepare for Cardigan Day.

mister rogers babies 1
(Photo Credit: AHN West Penn Hospital)

WQED is inviting Pittsburghers to stop by the station in Oakland from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for drinks, activities and a chance to see the new portrait of Mister Rogers that is on display inside the building.

The mixed-media portrait was created by a Nashville artist who used several items to make the piece, including a pair of glasses Mister Rogers wore.

mr rogers portrait
(Photo Credit: KDKA)

A rally, directed by Allegheny County Controller Rich Fitzgerald, was held at the City-County Building Portico at noon today.

WATCH: World Kindness Day Rally --

CELEBRATING KINDNESS! Students have gathered at the City-County Building for a World Kindness Day rally. MORE:

Posted by KDKA-TV | CBS Pittsburgh on Wednesday, November 13, 2019

After the rally, students from Woodland Hills School and The Pittsburgh New Leaders Council will be deployed across the streets of Pittsburgh. These "Kindness Ambassadors" will be out in the city doing random acts of kindness.

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