Twenty years ago in the SPJBC Phil Aiello clubhouse, the executive board while shepherding the club for the coming season, made a decision to give back to the surrounding community. It was at that time, COACHES Care was founded. We came up with the acronym for the word Coach, (Coaches Offering Assistance for Children’s Health), and initially created the Children’s Fund at the JFK Medical Center. The Fund ensured every child who stayed in the hospital, received a gift. We decided to have a 12 hour softball marathon and local organizations donated monies to play against the SPJBC coaches. We continued for 3 years, until 6 participants had surgeries for injuries. We thought it was time to find a safer way to raise funds for the organizations we were supporting.
In 2004, after a search for a venue, we held our first COACHES Care golf outing at the Heron Glen Golf Course in Ringoes. While we got a little wet our first few years, we knew that maybe we were on to something, as the event sold out every year. With tremendous support from the people at the SPJBC, local businesses and people that bought into what we were doing, the golf tournament seemed to get better every year. As with most successful organizations, it takes a lot of hard work and dedication, and we have had the good fortune to be associated with so many good people. As a 100% volunteer charity, we rely on so many factors for our success. From our volunteers, to our sponsors, to those who donate prizes for our auctions and door prizes, we could not be more blessed for your benevolence.
As we continue the preparations for our 17th annual golf outing on June 13th, we thought it was important to acknowledge as a group all that has been accomplished in our existence. We have purchased wheelchairs in the shape of racecars and teddy bears, computers for the kids in the hospital to use, as well as a pediatric machine which help doctors monitor brain activity in children. Additionally, we have established a lasting footprint at the JFK Pediatric Rehabilitation Center with the creation of the COACHES CARE Pediatric Therapeutic Learning Center, COACHES Care Playground, and are in the process of opening up the Jacob McCreesh COACHES Care Pediatric Rehabilitation Center. All of these venues, assist children with brain cancer in their diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation, while having a multi-functional ability to treat children with other maladies.
From our outset we never made a dollar figure our goal, but because we have been so fortunate to be associated with so many good and giving people, we think it is important to recognize what they have meant to our charity. In 2019, through all of our charitable endeavors, we eclipsed the $1 million mark in monies raised! From the beginnings in the boardroom with gentlemen agreeing to partner up and give back, to today, we find it amazing the overwhelming the support we have received. As Jackie Robinson famously said, “A life is not important except for the impact it has on other lives”. To all of you affiliated with COACHES Care, know that you have made that impact in so many ways. To all of you, we say thank you, Thanks a Million!