By MEGHAN McCOY
Guardian Angels for Special Populations is seeking golfers and sponsors for their fifth annual golf tournament fund raiser, which will be held in November at Palmetto Pines Country Club.
Sharon Smith, Guardian Angels for Special Populations treasurer, said the golf tournament is their largest fund raiser of the year.
Last year the event raised $24,000 with participation from 120 golfers.
"This year we are trying to raise more than that," she said.
One hundred percent of the proceeds will go back into the program to make ends meet. Smith said the funds will allow them to purchase office supplies, janitorial supplies, along with assisting the city in paying salary expenses for the staff.
"Our city budget is as tight as it can be," Smith said. "We are trying to do whatever we can do to not ask the city to pay more money."
Those interested in becoming a sponsor can call 239-574-0574.
The tournament will be held for a four player team scramble on Nov. 5. The fee is $95 per player and includes one round of golf, continental breakfast, appetizers, buffet lunch, soda, water and a gift bag. Alcoholic beverages are available for those who wish to purchase them.
The tournament also will include door prizes, 50/50 drawings, raffles, mulligans and a square board with grand prizes.
"It is a really nice day for a great cause," Smith said, adding the event is "keeping it in the Cape and supporting these citizens that we support that are often forgotten. They are wonderful people that are so appreciative."
Sara Sansone, Special Populations supervisor, said they are now in their 32 year of operation.
"It started in 1979 as a summer program for three individuals with disabilities," she said, adding that those families and individuals asked the city and the Parks and Recreation Department to continue the program year round.
Before settling in at the Lake Kennedy Senior Center after it was built in 1992, they moved around to different locations through Parks and Recreation.
In 1994, the Special Populations facility was built after three years of writing grants to the federal government. In 2002, an addition was built.
Sansone said they were able to grow the program once they had their own facility to work from, which grew from the initial three individuals to 180 people in the program today.
"It has definitely grown over the years," she said.
The mission statement for Special Populations is "to promote independence for persons with developmental disabilities through exposure, education and experience in a safe, caring environment," which Sansone said is a very powerful statement.
She said they have a very active program, which also involves a lot of community activities.
Some of the activities include continuing education; job skills training; health and safety; social and life skills; competitive employment information; drama and dance; exercise; art and music therapy, horticulture therapy and special equestrians.
In addition, Sansone said they operate Pops Cafe at City hall where they serve breakfast and lunch. The cafe is open to the public and is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. until 1 p.m.
"We started that in 2001 when City Hall opened," she said. "It is one of our many employment opportunities that we have for individuals in our program."