I can definitely say that this past Memorial Weekend was just what I needed to recharge. For those of you that were able, I hope you found some time to relax and enjoy time off. However, prior to the extended weekend, there were some exciting things that occurred last week.
Foundation on Facebook
It’s official, you can stay connected to the Kids ‘N Community Foundation through Facebook. Last week we launched a Kids ‘N Community Foundation page on the social networking site. Through the page, you’ll receive updates on player appearances, events and fundraisers, event recaps, photos of players in the community, and more. To become a fan or view our page, click here. Please encourage your Facebook friends to give the Kids ‘N Community Foundation a “thumbs up” on their profile!
Autographed Michael Leighton Goalie Mask
I’m sure many of you have been following the Hurricanes' former coaches and back-up goaltender in this year’s Stanley Cup Finals. For the next 10 days, the Carolina Hurricanes are featuring an autographed, game-worn Michael Leighton (#49) goalie mask on the NHL Online Auction site. The mask was worn during Leighton’s successful 2007-08 season in the AHL with the Albany River Rats and with the Hurricanes during that year’s preseason and in January of 2008 when he was pulled up to the big league.
The auction launched last Thursday (5/27) and will run through Friday, June 11 (8:00 p.m. closeout). The mask is now up to $1100. As with any online auction we host, all proceeds benefit the Kids ‘N Community Foundation, which provides CASH grants to children’s charities that focus on the health, education, and underserved population needs of our children in our community. The funds generated from the mask will go a long way to help children and their families in NC. For example, even at $1100, these funds could help the Assistance League of the Triangle’s “Operation School Bell” (a program the foundation supported in the Spring grant cycle) with enough funds to provide 22 children with needed materials like clothing, shoes, school supplies and toiletries to elementary school children in need. Every little bit helps.
Last Monday, we hosted the 3rd annual Carolina Hurricanes Pick Up a Book and Read Essay Recognition luncheon at the RBC Center. The reading portion of the program is designed for 3rd-5th grade students, and this year, the 2,190 participating students read over 3 million pages. Students who participate have the option to enter the essay contest by writing an essay on one of the books they read during the program. The 18 finalists, their parents and teachers were completely surprised when Rod Brind’Amour walked in the room at 11:15. This is often the best part of my job… seeing the genuine reaction of young children (and parents and teachers) when they get to meet a guy like Rod Brind’Amour. I never had the opportunity to meet an athletic idol when I was younger (I will share that back in the day for me, it would have been meeting Atlanta Braves third baseman Chipper Jones), so I get to live vicariously through these kids as they get to meet someone who has achieved some of the highest honors in his sport.
Brind’Amour mingled with every child, parent and teacher, took pictures and signed autographs for everyone there. He stuck around for the entire hour and half lunch program and helped pass out certificates and prizes to every student. The program also featured an encouraging speech from Doris Barksdale, Manager of Community Development/Motivational Consultant for the team, who launched Pick Up a Book and Read nearly a decade ago. Last but not least, Hall-of-Fame radio play-by-play voice of the Hurricanes, Chuck Kaiton, also took time out of his day to emcee the event as well as give a keynote speech on reading and writing and how it applies to his profession.
One of the highlights of the program is that the top five essay submissions are read aloud by the student who wrote the essay. The young students stand behind a mic and podium to read their essays to attendees. I remember how nerve-racking it can be to stand in front of a crowd (it still isn’t the easiest thing to do), so these kids deserve some extra credit. The top five winners also receive a special certificate and additional prizes like autographed photos and gift certificates to the EYE.
Canes for a CureFinally, the Canes fo
r a Cure team is back, and we’ll be participating in the annual Susan G. Komen Race for a Cure on Saturday, June 12. I, unfortunately, will be at a wedding in Charlotte that day, but I’m “sleeping in for the cure” and trying to raise funds even though I will not be there. So, if you are unable to be there on race day, there are definitely ways to be involved. To join our team, click here.