Ro­tary keeps on giv­ing

An­nual golf tour­na­ment handed out $ 100,000 to wide ar­ray of lo­cal causes

The Intelligencer (Belleville) - - NEWS - BRUCE BELL THE INTELLIGENCER

With the Christ­mas sea­son rapidly ap­proach­ing, it’s not a con­ve­nient time of year to think about golf.

But for many lo­cal chil­dren, their needs have no cal­en­dar and that’s where the Ro­tary Loves Kids an­nual golf tour­na­ment plays such a huge role.

The tour­na­ment, which com­pleted its 16th year in 2018, has raised al­most $ 1.5 mil­lion over that pe­riod with the lo­cal Ro­tary Club of Belleville hand­ing out most of that money to sup­port chil­dren’s pro­grams in the com­mu­nity.

Ro­tar­i­ans Randy Coker and Brenda Snider sat down with The Intelligencer Thurs­day morn­ing and while the pair didn’t com­mit to a date, did say the tour­na­ment will pro­ceed again in 2019 some­time in July.

Snider said peo­ple need to un­der­stand the value of the tour­na­ment and how much it does for lo­cal youth. In ad­di­tion to the an­nual golf tour­na­ment, Ro­tary Loves Kids also hosts the pop­u­lar Party in the Square fol­low­ing the golf. This year, be­cause of con­struc­tion is­sues in Mar­ket Square, the af­ter- party was held at Sig­nal Brew­ery.

“I don’t think the com­mu­nity re­ally un­der­stands where the money goes — they hear golf tour­na­ment and think, okay its raising money for the com­mu­nity,” said Snider. “Ro­tary Loves Kids does so much good for our youth and some other groups as well, but pri­mar­ily kids, and the good thing is all of the money raised at the golf tour­na­ment goes to­ward these pro­grams and none goes to­ward op­er­a­tional costs.”

In 2018, for only the fifth time in its 16- year his­tory the tour­na­ment sur­passed the $ 100,000 mark, bring­ing in $ 110,000.

“We were get­ting a lit­tle wor­ried that the tour­na­ment had run its course be­cause there had been a lit­tle bit of a dip the last few years,” ex­plained Coker. “But we had a very good year in 2018 and we’re hope­ful that we can con­tinue on. We’re al­ways look­ing for ways to im­prove the ( event) be­cause it is so im­por­tant for Ro­tary to con­tinue sup­port­ing all these things.”

Over the last year Ro­tary has shelled out $ 100,000 to youth pro­grams in­clud­ing:

• $ 28,000 to more than 20 youth com­mu­nity groups

• $ 27,000 for wheel­chairs and equip­ment for spe­cial needs chil­dren’s

• $ 24,000 for Com­mu­nity And Safety Well- Be­ing

• $ 10,000 for The Chil­dren’s Foun­da­tion for ed­u­ca­tion bur­saries

• $ 10,000 for Habi­tat for Hu­man­ity and two builds

• $ 5,000 to Three Oaks

• $ 3,000 spe­cial needs grant and Christ­mas party

• $ 2,000 Food for Learn­ing pro­gram

• $ 1,000 Quinte Bal­let School for sewing ma­chine

Coker, who serves with Eric Thomp­son as the co- chair­man for the tour­na­ment, said Ro­tary ini­tia­tives also help sup­port pro­grams out­side the bor­ders of the Quinte re­gion. The club do­nated $ 41,000 to help im­prove hu­man con­di­tions around the globe, in­clud­ing drink­ing wa­ter projects in Uganda, Ye­man, Hon­duras and Gu­atemala.

One of the pro­grams Ro­tary is sup­port­ing that might not be widely known about in the com­mu­nity is the PACT Ur­ban Peace pro­gram.

“If a kid is charged with a crime be­fore they’re 18 years old, odds are they will con­tinue to be a crim­i­nal, so what they’ve done, if they can pro­vide some coun­selling, pro­vide some coach­ing, pro­vide some guid­ance — maybe they’re not even be­ing fed at home or are be­ing beat up — if they can get them go­ing down the right path, then we have a chance of that kid be­com­ing a con­trib­u­tor,” Coker said. “They started this about three years ago here and so far it has a 100 per cent suc­cess rate. Of the six kids that have gone through the pro­gram, not one has re- of­fended. This is a very im­por­tant pro­gram for Ro­tary to sup­port.”

Snider said al­though some of the pro­grams Ro­tary sup­ports are adult based, that sup­port trick­les down to af­fected chil­dren.

“Three Oaks ap­plied for a grant be­cause they were de­vel­op­ing a new pro­gram, a peer- to- peer pro­gram, work­ing with them in sec­ond- stage hous­ing and it’s so im­por­tant to get these woman back on their feet, out into the com­mu­nity, safe en­vi­ron­ment, in the job mar­ket and their kids are safe,” Snider said. “There are a lot of pro­grams out there that need some sup­port and things like Ro­tary Loves Kids makes it pos­si­ble.”

Coker said de­spite all the work over the years, the sat­is­fac­tion of help­ing those in need far out­weighs any ef­fort needed.

“We had a lady whose baby was born with a de­fect and needed a pro­ce­dure to cor­rect it,” he ex­plained. “It wasn’t a big amount they needed and we were able to help them and her quote af­ter was, ‘ We want to thank Ro­tary for our baby’s first laugh.’

“I still get emo­tional when I think about that and the dif­fer­ence it made in a child’s life.”

For more in­for­ma­tion, visit ro­taryloveskids. com

BRUCE BELL/ THE INTELLIGENCER

Ro­tar­i­ans Randy Coker and Branda Snider talk about the pro­grams sup­ported in the Quinte re­gion by the Ro­tary Loves Kids an­nual golf tour­na­ment.

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