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Grants at Work: Education, Fun and New Experiences Available to Children in Middle Tennessee

by Meredith Martin / Nashville Predators

This summer, children of all ages and backgrounds are benefiting from the money provided by the 2014 Nashville Predators Foundation grants. Both Deer Run Retreat Center in Thompson Station, Tennessee and Cottage Cove in Nashville are witnessing a direct impact on the children they have committed to reach.

In 1996, David Gibson, founder and president of Deer Run, stumbled upon untouched property that sparked a vision to reach at-risk and in-need children through a camp setting. Gibson vowed to never turn anyone away due to an inability to cover expenses.

“Normally, we ask the families how much they can afford to pay. Even if it is $10 or $20, we allow them to pay what they can and we say ‘Come on,’” Gibson said. “It’s been a challenge but it’s worth it.”

With the money received from the grant, Deer Run provides scholarships for children ages 5-14 to attend the overnight summer camp or day camp program. As the retreat grows, the range of children eligible for scholarships extends throughout the southeast region.

On June 11, Gnash surprised the children of Deer Run igniting laughter, high fives and “fang finger” pictures. The visit added excitement to the already joyous atmosphere.

“We’re very grateful for the Predators,” Gibson said. “We’ll have over 2,000 campers this summer and we always love when Gnash can come and have some fun with our kids.”

On the opposite side of town, Brent MacDonald seeks to serve at-risk children of the inner-city Vine Hill district through the non-profit organization Cottage Cove. Founded in 1994, the organization impacts the educational experience of more than 70 children daily by inviting them to the Cottage Cove house where staff and volunteers help them with their school curriculum.

“We want to create a welcoming and positive environment for our children with this facility,” MacDonald said. “If we want to hold our kids to a higher standard, we need to old ourselves to one.”

In addition to studying, the children have an opportunity to create friendships and enjoy opportunities such as music and art classes, cooking lessons, sports and competitive games and most recently, a renovated recreational area.

This summer, Cottage Cove used their grant money to install an eight foot, self-propelled merry-go-round to enhance their growing playground.

“The merry-go-round is a great addition to our facility,” MacDonald said. “Having this playground allows the children to not only have some fun, but they develop healthy problem solving skills for issues that arise out here.”

The Deer Run Retreat Center and Cottage Cove are just two of 117 charities that received a grant from the Nashville Predators Foundation in 2014. The Foundation strives to meet the educational, social, health and cultural needs of the community by offering unique resources and financial support to local youth-oriented organizations.

For more information about the Predators Foundation, visit

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