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Rotary Club of Cape Coral hosts 4th annual ‘Rotary's Got Game’

August 4, 2017
Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Special to The Breeze

On Saturday, July 29, the Rotary Club of Cape Coral hosted its annual Rotary's Got Game at Cape Coral High School.

Article Photos

Photo provided

From left, Amy Rouskey, Donna Marie Clavin and Pat Ellendorf at the Rotary’s Got Game event. 

During the morning event, children of all ages browsed through tables filled with sports equipment, choosing their favorite, and taking them home to play.

The children who participated in the event are all part of the area's foster care program administered by the non-profit organization, the Children's Network of Southwest Florida.

Currently, the organization is subcontracted with over 50 social service agencies and is responsible for over 2,300 abused children stretching through Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry, and Glades counties. Also, the organization also serves approximately 125 at-risk children each month via their diversion program.

This year was the fourth that the Rotary Club of Cape Coral has partnered with the Children's Network of Southwest Florida to host the event, and provided such sports equipment as basketballs and hoops, footballs, soccer balls, bicycles and more to over 60 local children in the foster care program,

"This has always been one of my favorite Rotary events. To see the smiles on the kids' faces as they leave with their arms full of sports equipment is so rewarding not only for me but, our entire club," said Rotary Club of Cape Coral President Erik Elsea.

In past years, the club has relied heavily on donations to provide the sports equipment for the event. However, this year, through a grant from Rotary International, the club was able to purchase new equipment for those children attending.

Nadereh Salim, CEO of Children's Network Southwest Florida, said such initiatives as Rotary's Got Game are vital to the children in the program.

"The Rotary Club of Cape Coral is an amazing partner for us." Salim said. "Events like these are tremendous. The kids get items they wouldn't typically get. And, it shows the heart of the community, and how invested we are in our children."

While the event has been successful, the need continues to grow. When Rotary's Got Game was launched in 2014, the number of children under the care of the Children's Network was 1,800. Today that number has climbed to nearly 2,500 with over 350 being in Cape Coral. In fact, the need has grown so significantly that Salim said the organization will be opening a Cape Coral location in the next few months.

Elsea said it is that increase and need that drives the club to find new ways to improve the event and expand its impact on the local community.

"We are looking at the possibility of merging this event with our annual kids' picnic event to allow us to reach more kids next year. It is vital to these kids to show them that the community cares and is willing to reach out a helping hand."

About the Rotary Club of Cape Coral

Rotary is an international service organization with more than 1.2 million members worldwide. Formed in 1964, the Rotary Club of Cape Coral continues to serve as one of Cape Coral's most predominate service organizations. The club meets every Wednesday at 7:30 a.m. at the La Venezia Ballroom, 4646 SE 10th Place, Cape Coral.

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