Mario Lemieux Foundation Opens New Austin’s Playroom at Watson Institute

Sewickley, Pa. (October 21, 2021)The Watson Institute and the Mario Lemieux Foundation today announced the opening of Austin’s Playroom in its Psychological Services Department, close to the entrance vestibule.

“We’re so pleased to have an Austin’s Playroom in our newly-renovated space and know that it will bring smiles and laughter to our children and families as they await their appointments, “said Barry W. Bohn, President & CEO of the Watson Institute.

Austin’s Playroom features comfortable child-sized furnishings, as well as games, toys, books, electronics, and child-friendly artwork. Nathalie Lemieux uniquely and personally designs each playroom. Each playroom features wall-mounted games, large screen TV, and much more, inside a brightly painted room.

In attendance were Nathalie Lemieux, Vice President, Mario Lemieux Foundation and Chair, Austin’s Playrooms, Barry B. Bohn, President & CEO of the Watson Institute, Jeffrey S. Flick, President, Board of Trustees of the Watson Institute, Mark Hale, Vice Chairman, Board of Trustees,  Debbie Nute, Event Chair, Austin’s Playroom Luncheon, and special invited guests. 

“We are so pleased to open the 40th Austin’s Playroom,” said Nathalie Lemieux. “Our goal is to reach as many children and families as possible, and we are excited to bring an Austin’s Playroom to the children and families served by the Watson Institute.  As a resident of Sewickley, I’m so happy to have this Playroom located within my community.”

Austin’s Playrooms was established as a result of Nathalie and Mario Lemieux’s personal experience while caring for their infant son, Austin. In 1996, Austin was born profoundly premature and spent 71 days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. While they were caring for Austin, there was nothing to engage his sisters, who were both toddlers at the time. It was then Mario and Nathalie realized a need for playrooms and began their plan to establish Austin’s Playrooms.


Founded in 1917, the Watson Institute helps children with special needs achieve their fullest potential in all aspects of their lives. This mission is achieved through educational and support services to more than 1100 children annually from across Western Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Ohio through our continuum of services.  Watson strives to provide programs that serve the needs of children with autism spectrum disorders, cerebral palsy, neurological impairments, other developmental delays and serious emotional disturbances.    To learn more about the Watson Institute and about upcoming events, please visit