C & G Publishing

Website Login

C&G Sports Social

   

 

 

Metro Detroit

December 24, 2013

Local athletes give back to communities through charitable efforts

» click to enlarge «
Staff Sgt. Michael Milliner of Warren, second from left, Staff Sgt. Dominic Freda of Livonia, fourth from left, and Staff Sgt. Rovin Canales of Sterling Heights, second from right, fire up the Warren Mott boys tennis team prior to the start of the first annual Tennis For Troops tournament, which took place Sept. 14 at Halmich Park in Warren.
The Madison Heights Bishop Foley boys basketball team helped serve food and put together dry-soup bags for the less fortunate Nov. 24. The Ventures also helped serve 120 people Thanksgiving dinner.
 
Stocking stuffers

Here’s a look at some more of the local programs that gave back this year

Detroit Tigers, Don Bosco Hall help youngsters
The 12th annual Willie Horton’s Batting for Kids took place July 1 at Comerica Park. The event, which was hosted by the Detroit Tigers Foundation, along with Don Bosco Hall, drew approximately 438 urban and suburban children between the ages of 5 and 15 for a competition that included base running, hitting and throwing skills.

“The primary goal of the Detroit Tigers is to introduce kids, especially urban kids, to baseball,” said Christine Gavin-Patterson, who works with fund development community relations and marketing for Don Bosco Hall.

Military night at South
Grosse Pointe South hosted a Military Night event on Sept. 18 during a game against Grosse Pointe North. Members of the military were honored with a pregame ceremony, and each team was able to greet each member of the armed forces present.

Volleyball Block Out Cancer
event in Grosse Pointe

Grosse Pointe South, Grosse Pointe North and University Liggett played a round-robin volleyball event on Sept. 17. Each team wore special jerseys to symbolize which form of cancer their efforts would be going toward.

Tennis for Troops in Warren
Warren Mott and Warren Cousino put on the first annual Tennis for Troops tournament Sept. 14 at Halmich Park in Warren. The event took place in conjunction with an effort to raise money for the city of Warren War Memorial. Eight local teams participated in the tournament: Warren Woods Tower, Madison Heights Lamphere, Fraser High, Center Line High, St. Clair Shores Lakeview, Macomb L’Anse Creuse North, Mott and Cousino. Each team was given a branch of service to raise funds for. More than $1,000 was raised.

Warren football teams raise funds for PAL
The Warren Cousino varsity and JV football teams co-hosted an offense, defense and kicking flag football clinic Sept. 14 for children associated with the Warren Police Athletic League. About 75 children participated.

Cancer awareness game
by Sterling Heights and Madison

The Sterling Heights and Madison Heights Madison football teams squared off in a football game where they also helped raise awareness about cancer Sept. 27. This was the third year Sterling Heights High hosted the game, played in honor of former Stallions quarterback Brian Thomas, who lost his battle with cancer in 2011.

Center Line and Clintondale volleyball go pink
The Center Line High volleyball team hosted Clinton Township Clintondale Oct. 22 in the Panthers’ annual “Pink Out” match to commemorate Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Roseville and Lake Shore raise funds
The Roseville and St. Clair Shores Lake Shore high volleyball teams battled it out in a cancer awareness game Oct. 1 at Roseville.

Hazel Park, Royal Oak hoops teams
support American Cancer Society

Hazel Park and Royal Oak high’s boys basketball teams played a “Pink Out” game Feb. 28 in support of Relay for Life, a 24-hour walk to benefit the American Cancer Society.

Farmington High hockey helps out Goodfellows
The Farmington High boys hockey continued their annual charitable work with the Farmington Area Goodfellows.

Bloomfield Hills volleyball players
donate to Optimist Club

The Bloomfield Hills High volleyball team put together gifts and wrapped them for the Bloomfield Optimist Club Holiday Wish Program. The gifts were delivered Dec. 4.

North Farmington swimmers
help neighboring school

The North Farmington girls swim team helped went out of its way to help a friendly competitor. After a meet with Hazel Park High, the Raiders made Secret Sister bags for members of the Vikings team, which included candy, magazines and nail polish, among other items.

In return, Hazel Park made a banner for North Farmington to help cheer on the Raiders during the OAA White championship meet, which they won.

North Farmington also raised money for the Vikings to be used at Different Strokes Swim Shop, which will help Hazel Park swim team members receive a 25 percent discount on all purchases in the store.

Farmington Harrison football
players help out youngsters

Farmington Hills Harrison football players make their rounds to local elementary schools to read to the children.

“The younger kids are thrilled to have the ‘big guys’ read to them, and the ‘big guys’ are getting invaluable experience in public speaking,” said assistant coach Billy Slobin, who runs the program.

‘The Battle of the Middles’
continues to help communities

An annual showdown, “The Battle of the Middles” continues to helps surrounding communities in the Farmington area.

The basketball game pits faculty from Power Upper Elementary School and East Junior High School against members from Dunckel Middle School and Warner Upper Elementary School in a charity game that benefits the Farmington Area Goodfellows and Neighborhood House.

Throughout eight years, the game has collected more than $28,000 and thousands of canned good and toys.

By C & G Sports Staff

It’s the season of giving, but for many athletic programs across the state, giving back is a year-round endeavor.

From clothes drives to helping less-fortunate families find the perfect gift — from volunteering time at soup kitchens to painting houses in the neighborhood — athletes have been giving back to the communities that give them so much.

Space does not permit us to list all the charitable games and efforts of all the athletes, but here is a sample of the countless projects local athletes are either preparing for or have accomplished this past year in an effort to better the lives of others.

Happy Holidays from the C & G sports staff.

Cranbrook and Brother Rice raise funds for heart checks
Rivals one the ice, the Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood and Birmingham Brother Rice hockey teams teamed up to raise money for Beaumont Hospital’s Student Athlete Healthy Heart Check Program.

The program provides free heart screenings to identify undetected heart problems.

“The goal and mission of the Healthy Heart Check Program is to help detect for signs of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or other abnormal heart structures or rhythms that could lead to sudden cardiac arrest,” Lacey Sapkiewicz, the director of Heart and Vascular Business Development at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak said in a press release.

“Beaumont offers three large screenings per year for high school-age students (13-17) free of charge,” the statement continued. “This includes a medical history evaluation, blood pressure check, physician exam, electrocardiogram and quick-look echocardiogram. These events are completely supported by the generous hard work and dedication of volunteers, and all money raised by the Cranbrook and Brother Rice game will directly flow back into the supplies and operations of Healthy Heart Check. … We are grateful for the support of our community and groups that choose to help support our program.”
The teams collected donations and ticket sales from their game, and presented Beaumont with a check worth $1,125.00.

Bloomfield Hills High swimming
volunteers time with soup kitchen

In January, the Bloomfield Hills boys and girls swim teams will be found in a local soup kitchen helping those in need.

It’s an annual event that dates back five years, in the days of Bloomfield Hills Andover and Lahser.

“High school is more than classroom lectures and sporting events; it’s a time for young men and women to learn about the community and world around them,” Bloomfield High swim coach David Zulkiewski said. “The learning experience is valuable and benefits our athletes long after they have left our school. I think the kids really do enjoy the time they volunteer and appreciate their lifestyles more after they see how other people live and work.”

Farmington High soccer holds
ovarian cancer awareness night

When Farmington High lost Roxanne Mecham, a bilingual paraprofessional at the school who succumbed to ovarian cancer, guys on the Falcons’ soccer team went into action to plan a night in her honor.

The Falcons held Ovarian Cancer Awareness Soccer Night during a pair of home contests with the West Bloomfield High junior varsity and varsity teams.

“I really commend the guys and their effort to put this together,” Farmington High Athletic Director Mary Sheltrown said of the effort. “They brought this idea up and wanted to do this in her honor. Anytime you have students step up to benefit the community, there’s a lot to be proud of.”

Donations were collected during the games to benefit the America Cancer Society for ovarian cancer research, and Buckets of Rain, a public charity focused on turning blighted, abandoned or underutilized land into inner-city vegetable gardens.

“(Buckets of Rain) was one of her favorite charities,” said senior Jake Zervos, who helped plan the event. “We wanted to do this for cancer research, as well as a charity she was so passionate about.”

Pro athletes and angels
Current and former professional athletes, including Detroit Lions and Pistons, were on hand to raise funds at the fifth annual Athletes Adapting Families to benefit Angels of Hope, which was held at Tre Monti Ristorante in Troy Dec. 6. The event raised more than $60,000, which will be used to adopt families in need that have been affected by cancer and provide a Christmas this holiday season.

Detroit Lions captain Stephen Tulloch partnered with Angels of Hope, founded by Robin Sanderson, for this holiday event.
Berkley-Ferndale hockey team busts out the paintbrushes
For the second consecutive season, guys on the Berkley-Ferndale Unified hockey team rolled up their sleeves and donated their time to the Heidelberg Project in Detroit.

While the project has recently been in the news for a series of arsons, the Bears were there earlier this fall and spent a day tearing down infrastructure, ripping out old flooring in one house, weeding overgrown gardens, and of course, slapping some paint on the walls.

“This is something we’ve been doing for a few years now,” coach Jeff Fleming said. “And it’s something we want to continue. Whether it’s with the Heidelberg Project or any other group, we feel like it’s the right thing to do.”

Joanne Leider, a volunteer with the Heidelberg Project and mother of a couple of former Berkley hockey players, praised the players.
“What they did was great,” she said. “The guys worked above and beyond what was expected of them.”

Bishop Foley boys hoops helps serve it up for Thanksgiving
The Ventures spent Nov. 24 in a homeless shelter making more than 300 individual dry-soup bags for distribution. The players then helped serve 120 people for Thanksgiving dinner.
Coach Marc West said his team gained appreciation in more ways than one.

“I believe it’s important for kids to see just how fortunate they are to have all the things they have,” he said. “I also found it was great for the kids to see all of the other volunteers that are working in these shelters every week, and in some cases, every day, and the true dedication those people have to helping others in need.”

Seaholm girls basketball gives help during Thanksgiving
The Maples have been giving back the last four years, the past three with Kensington Community Church, to help organize food and household items for their Thanksgiving basket Project.

This year, Seaholm helped feed 650 families.
“The beauty of sports is that it can teach us life lessons,” coach January Hladki said. “Our annual community service opportunity allows our girls to gain an understanding of lives of others. It heightens their awareness to real-world struggles and challenges. It allows the girls to use their strength and compassion to help others. It demonstrates that there are things bigger than the game or the practice happening around us every day.”

Rochester High Captains Club continues to give
The Captains Club is made up of all the various varsity captains during the year, and each month, the group takes on another volunteer project.

This year alone, the club has spent time reading to elementary students and gave escorted tours to the 2013 Rochester Hall of Fame class around the school.

Currently, the group is running a clothing drive for the less fortunate and will also be stuffing stockings for children in need. Next fall, the club is working with Habitat for Humanity.1

“One of the primary purposes for the Captains Club is to allow our captains to give back to the community,” Rochester High Athletic Director William Beach said. “We feel that we give our student-athletes the arena to be leaders in the classroom and on the playing field, but not in the community, so service projects allow us to develop a sense of pride in helping others. Our student-athletes understand that they are very fortunate to be a part of such a great school district and community, and want to give back.”

Wayne State holds charity drive
Wayne State University ran a winter charity drive to collect winter clothing and canned goods for local families. The drive took place in parts of November and December, with donations accepted at men’s and women’s basketball games.

U-D Mercy provides holiday assistance
The University of Detroit Mercy offered a free ticket promotion in the month of December to benefit Toys for Tots.

Fans who brought in a new, unwrapped toy by Dec. 15 received one free ticket to a home men’s or women’s basketball game.

UDM was also part of the 51st annual Most Holy Trinity Christmas party, as student-athletes and other representatives from the athletic department made an appearance at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 58 building Dec. 14.

According to UDM’s athletic website, “The party is to help give a Christmas to nearly 500 children who may not have received any presents for the holidays.”

Community colleges to participate in food drive
Oakland Community College, Macomb Community College, Henry Ford Community College and Wayne County Community College District will all be accepting nonperishable food items at men’s and women’s basketball games in the month of January.

The MCC men’s and women’s team are scheduled to play St. Clair County Community College Jan. 25 at the Warren campus, with the women’s team scheduled for a 1 p.m. start and the men’s squad scheduled to follow at 3 p.m. Five items of nonperishable foods must be provided for admission to the “The Hunger Games.”

OCC is scheduled to have a canned food drive Jan. 22, with the men’s and women’s basketball teams scheduled to be in action against MCC at the Auburn Hills campus. The women’s game is scheduled for a 5:30 p.m. tip-off, with the men scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. start.

Henry Ford Community College is scheduled to host WCCCD for “Hunger Games” Jan. 23, in a partnership with Gleaners Food Bank “to help eliminate hunger in Wayne County,” according to the Michigan Community College Athletic Association website. Anyone who brings a canned good to the game receives $1 off the price of admission.
Cash donations will also be accepted at the game. Donations of food and/or cash can be dropped off between Jan. 14-23 on the Henry Ford Community College campus, office PE210.

The women’s game is scheduled for a 5:30 p.m. start, with the men scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. tip-off.

Warren Cousino girls basketball teams adopt families
For the sixth consecutive year, the Warren Cousino varsity and JV girls basketball teams adopted families with the idea of brightening their Christmas.

The teams participated in the Volunteers of America, Michigan Chapter’s Adopt-A-Family Program. They adopted two families — both from Warren — according to varsity coach Mike Lee.

“The reason I chose this is because I think it is an important message to send the girls about giving back,” Lee said. “As a basketball coach, I try to teach them a lot on the court, but I try to teach them a lot off the court, as well.

“I am a firm believer that sports can teach you those life lessons that build character you can take with you for a lifetime. Well, this is one of those moments.”

Wayne State University holds winter charity drive
Wayne State University ran a winter charity drive to collect winter clothing and canned goods for local families. The drive took place in parts of November and December, with donations accepted at men’s and women’s basketball games.

Warren Regina basketball, hockey teams adopt families
The Warren Regina basketball and hockey teams have again adopted families this holiday season. The families all have special needs children in the household, according to Saddlelites Athletic Director and basketball coach Diane Laffey.

This marks the sixth year Regina teams have adopted families, Laffey said. The teams are again working with the Bovenschen School, located in Clinton Township. The Bovenschen School provides educational services for students with moderate to severe cognitive impairments, ages 3-26.  The school serves 290 students from southern Macomb County.

“(The athletes) really do know the importance of helping those who need special help,” Laffey said. “When a few of them (visited) the Bovenschen School, they were overwhelmed by the number of students there who do need help.

“One of our cross country coaches delivered pumpkins there in the fall and was in tears at the sight of so many students with special needs. Our girls do realize that they are doing a good thing for those who need help and do enjoy doing it.”

Warren De La Salle hockey teams help babies
The Warren De La Salle hockey teams partnered with the Michigan Amateur Hockey Association for what Pilots varsity coach Dan Barry called a huge diaper and baby-food drive.

Each of De La Salle’s three hockey teams — varsity, JV Gold and JV Purple — took part in the effort, Barry said.
“It was a huge success,” he said. “We plan on doing this every year.”

Pro athletes and angels
Current and former professional athletes, including Detroit Lions and Pistons, were on hand to raise funds at the fifth annual Athletes Adapting Families to benefit Angels of Hope, which was held at Tre Monti Ristorante in Troy Dec. 6. The event raised more than $60,000, which will be used to adopt families in need that have been affected by cancer and provide a Christmas this holiday season.

Detroit Lions captain Stephen Tulloch partnered with Angels of Hope, founded by Robin Sanderson, for this holiday event.

University of Detroit Mercy athletics provides holiday assistance
The University of Detroit Mercy offered a free ticket promotion in the month of December to benefit Toys for Tots.

Fans who brought in a new, unwrapped toy by Dec. 15 received one free ticket to a home men’s or women’s basketball game.

UDM was also part of the 51st annual Most Holy Trinity Christmas party, as student-athletes and other representatives from the athletic department made an appearance at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 58 building Dec. 14.

According to UDM’s athletic website, “The party is to help give a Christmas to nearly 500 children who may not have received any presents for the holidays.”

MCC, OCC, Henry Ford CC, WCCCD to participate in food drive
Oakland Community College, Macomb Community College, Henry Ford Community College and Wayne County Community College District will all be accepting nonperishable food items at men’s and women’s basketball games in the month of January.

The MCC men’s and women’s team are scheduled to play St. Clair County Community College Jan. 25 at the Warren campus, with the women’s team scheduled for a 1 p.m. start and the men’s squad scheduled to follow at 3 p.m. Five items of nonperishable foods must be provided for admission to the “The Hunger Games.”

OCC is scheduled to have a canned food drive Jan. 22, with the men’s and women’s basketball teams scheduled to be in action against MCC at the Auburn Hills campus. The women’s game is scheduled for a 5:30 p.m. tip-off, with the men scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. start.

Henry Ford Community College is scheduled to host WCCCD for “Hunger Games” Jan. 23, in a partnership with Gleaners Food Bank “to help eliminate hunger in Wayne County,” according to the Michigan Community College Athletic Association website. Anyone who brings a canned good to the game receives $1 off the price of admission.

Cash donations will also be accepted at the game. Donations of food and/or cash can be dropped off between Jan. 14-23 on the Henry Ford Community College campus, office PE210.

The women’s game is scheduled for a 5:30 p.m. start, with the men scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. tip-off.