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ETO fundraises, rotary gives for camp experience

By: Sara Kandel | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published June 13, 2011

 The Eastpointe Rotary Club and Dr. Bob Shick of Family Eye Care Associates donated $1,500 to Eastside Teen Outreach to help support their upcoming camping trip.

The Eastpointe Rotary Club and Dr. Bob Shick of Family Eye Care Associates donated $1,500 to Eastside Teen Outreach to help support their upcoming camping trip.

Photo by Sara Kandel

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EASTPOINTE — The Senior Housing Commission’s Valentine’s Day Dance is a resident favorite, but it has one drawback — there are way more women than men, leaving many of the senior ladies without anyone to dance with.

Well, until this year that is, when three of the teen boys from the Eastside Teen Outreach group showed up to woo the older gals on the dance floor.

That’s where the Eastpointe Rotary Club first met the outreach group.

“We were so impressed with them at the dance,” said Rotary Club member Christopher Dyki. “We were so impressed with how they behaved and how they treated the women at the dance that we asked them to come and tell us who they are and what they do.”

Their initial impression proved correct, and after Eastside Teen Outreach spoke at a club meeting, one of the Rotary Club members felt compelled to support the group. Bob Schick of Family Eye Care Associates told fellow Rotary members he planned on making a donation to ETO.

His donation would be $750.

“When we found out he was going to donate that amount, we thought if he can do it, we can too,” Dyki said. “So we decided to match his donation.”

And match it they did.

Just before ETO’s June 9 meeting at St. Gabriel’s Episcopal Church in Eastpointe, the Eastpointe Rotary Club presented them with a check for $1,500.

Deena Torcino’s eyes swelled with happiness when she saw the amount on the large cardboard check. Torcino and her husband Doug run ETO.

ETO is 501(c)(3) nonprofit community organization that offers a safe haven and a place for fun for about 150 teens across southeast Macomb County. This year they’ve participated in a variety of community events, including the city’s chili cook-off, Puttin’ on the Ritz, the Memorial Day Parade, and the Art and Ice festival, to name a few.

“We offer an environment of community support, positive influences and fun for teens,” said Doug Torcino.

They’ll be participating in the Gratiot Cruise on June 18 and a slew of other local events throughout the summer, but their big event is a five-day camping trip in July. They’ve been fundraising for it all year.

“The camp itself is just to get us there; the real experience is the part where their lives are changed,” said Deena Torcino. “The music is great, but around the campfire at night they really open up and pour their hearts out. Some of these kids are going though some really difficult things, and on the camping trip they are able to share what they’re going through in good, positive environment.”

The camping trip is at a Christian music festival in Wisconsin called Lifest.

“There are probably 150 Christian bands, motivational speakers, workshops and more,” Deena Torcino said. “The kids love it. It’s a place where they can have fun and where they can let their guard down.”

It’s not cheap though, so they’ve been raising money throughout the year with bottle drives and fundraisers like their upcoming bowling event at Continental Lanes in Roseville on June 25. The cost is $20, which includes three games, shoes, pizza and pop.

The bowling fundraiser is one of their last before they leave for the five-day festival on July 5. Their fundraising efforts won’t stop after they return though, because even though now they are fundraising for the trip they are also saving for something bigger in the future — a teen center of their own.

“We would like to open a center, build it, rent it, (have it) be donated, anything,” Doug Torcino said. “We want a place the kids can come hang out anytime.”

The Torcinos hope the community will see the good a teen center could bring to the area and rally with them to fund it.

“People don’t want teens out on the streets, loitering at their stores or skating in their parking lots,” Deena Torcino said. “Well, if we have a center, they can be skating there and hanging out there.”

For more information on ETO, call (586) 435-9569 or visit www.eastsideteenoutreach.org.
 

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