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Fundraising Dinner and Auction

posted 24 Nov 2015, 19:37 by Brockville Ontario
(Back row, left to right) Special Olympics Brockville fundraising coordinator Dave Cavanagh, Scotiabank small business advisor Elsie Van Rooi, Scotiabank manager of personal banking Brenda Cloutier, Scotiabank community manager Brenda Hill, Scotiabank customer service representative Sue Rivoire, Scotiabank customer service supervisor Joanne Wiekamp, (front) Special Olympics Brockville public relations coordinator Jody Curry, and Special Olympic athletes Kyle Perkins and Mandy Clark. (JONATHON BRODIE/The Recorder and Times)

Special Olympics Brockville and Scotia Bank

Dave Cavanagh knows what Special Olympics can do for its athletes.

Over the past seven years he's seen the group provide its athletes with some fun, he's seen it give them confidence and he's seen the athletes gain friends through it.

"There's a social aspect of it and developing relationships and friendships," said Cavanagh, the fundraising coordinator for Special Olympics Brockville. "The sports are important, but I think the other side of it is just as important."

With that in mind, Cavanagh has just three words to describe the importance of Special Olympics Brockville's bi-annual dinner/auction fundraiser at the Royal Canadian Legion on Nov. 20 -"This is it."

"If we don't raise sufficient funds then we'll either have to cut back on programs or charge our athletes more money to participate," Cavanagh added.

Tickets for the fundraiser are being sold at the Scotiabank branches located at King Street West and Stewart Boulevard.

Currently, the Special Olympic athletes pay an annual registration of $25.

The local organization runs about 10 different sports and it costs about $18,000 a year to keep the organization afloat. With about 60 athletes involved in the local organization it costs about $300 to carry each one of them.

That doesn't include the cost of the athletes' travel costs . Within about a year's time the Brockville delegates have hit the big time with the likes of Sandi Mercier competing at the World Games in Los Angeles in August and this upcoming February there will be about 15 local floor hockey players traveling to Corner Brook, N.L. to take part in the national Winter Games. Athletes are, however, expected to raise individual funds to cover part of the cost of the road trips.

Every year the dinner raises more and more money with the last one bringing in about $19,000 in 2013. This time around Cavanagh is hoping to raise $25,000.

The event is more than just about money, though. Awareness is a big issue and the fundraiser is way to recruit new athletes and add to their stable of about 40 volunteers.

When Cavanagh joined Special Olympics seven years ago there were just 22 athletes and five volunteers and he's hoping to see those numbers continue to climb today.

Cavanagh points to a stat he read -that can be found on the Special Olympics website -that said one to three per cent of the global population has an intellectual disability. With a stat like that Cavanagh guesses there should be closer to 120 athletes associated with the local Special Olympics program.

He added, Special Olympics Brockville is trying to begin Active Start and FUNdamentals programs geared towards children between the ages of two-to-12-years-old and provides them with early instruction in the areas of basic motor skills they can use when they go back to school and play.

As of right now the Active Start and FUNdamentals programs are struggling with Cavanagh noting the initiative needs parent involvement. That all happens with the awareness and that happens through the dinner.

"Awareness and volunteers is almost as important as the money," Cavanagh said, adding Special Olympics Brockville has been nominated for the Community Excellence Award by the local Chamber of Commerce. "Matter if fact it's probably more important."

@jonathonbrodie on Twitter