One early memory imprinted in my brain of my son Michael is his natural connection with and affinity for children.
I remember when we are at that stage in our lives as a young family having young children and hanging around with other young couples at the same stage of their lives. We would frequently get together to socialize and; of course, the children would find ways to amuse themselves with play.
Now when Michael was about 4 years old a couple of our friends had young children about 6 to 8 months of age …….. not newborns but not yet at the stage of starting to walk …….. just at that stage of still being chauffeured around in a stroller by Mom. I was struck with fact that frequently; when Mike’s brother Andrew (about 20 months older than Michael) and the other children would run off and engage play, Mike would stay back to play with and engage the young child in the stroller. He would be very animated and sing some silly made up song entertaining the child and try to get them to laugh …… frequently alternating between an animated dance and then crouching down to hold the child’s hand and sing to them.
Later on as a young teen Mike would work as a counselor at a summer camp. He also spent many hours (almost countless hours) on the ice as an instructor at a hockey school. Mike always enjoyed his time on the ice and had a great rapport with young kids he instructed.
As a student athlete playing hockey for Norwich University in Vermont Mike was acutely aware that he was looked up to as a role model for the young hockey fans in the community and he took those responsibilities seriously; especially when dealing with the young children.
Mike always loved to be an entertainer and have a good time with his friends or for that matter whoever he happened to be with.
When Danny, Mike and Jeff came up the idea of having a charity golf tournament in Mike’s memory; it was clear that the monies collected should be donated to a charity in support of children. Most important to us was that we supported a most worthy and meaningful charity. By that we felt it should be one that was really hands on in the most real way, one that was community based, one where all the monies were focused to helping the children and on one where the dollars that we were able to donate would make a significant impact. Upon refection, this was actually a really tall order.
Eventually we were fortunate to be introduced to Silver Creek Pre-School and have supported them for the past 5 years. I remember my first visit to Silver Creek not at all knowing what to expect. I can tell you that the impact on me was immediate and very emotional. As we went from room to room with Executive Director Susan Kawa showing us around the school, it didn’t take long for the tears to well up and to be so moved by the interaction of the children and the staff at work. It was obvious that Silver Creek was the perfect choice.
I’ll write more about our connection to Sliver Creek in the future but for now I encourage you to visit the school and I know you will be proud of how your generosity helps these wonderful people do some truly great work. Just give me or Susan Kawa a call and we’ll be most happy to set up a visit.