By Katie Fallon
katiefallon@reporternewspapers.net

As it turns out, swinging a golf club in Sandy Springs could help needy children across the city.

More specifically, those who participated in the North Perimeter Optimist Club’s annual golf tournament were able to raise $14,000 for four organizations that serve youth in Sandy Springs.

The April 28 tournament was able to raise the funds through entry fees and a silent auction. The money was presented to the Sandy Springs Mission, Community Action Center, Brain Tumor Foundation for Children and Woodland Charter Elementary School at the club’s Sept. 18 meeting.

Tournament organizer Stu Naterman said the event is the most important fundraiser of the year for the club.

“This tournament raises the most of all the fundraisers we have and this year, we raised a little more than $17,000,” Naterman said. “The more people we can get to play, the more money we’ll end up raising.”

The recipients were chosen by the group’s board of directors based upon their commitment to local children. Naterman said the choices were simple.

“All four of the organizations are very worthy of the funds themselves,” he said.

In fact, the club has a continual commitment to children that includes a student essay and oratorical contests, children’s Christmas breakfast, bicycle safety rodeo, Little League Braves outing, providing volunteers for Special Olympics, celebrating a Youth Appreciation Week and hosting a junior golf tournament. Most of the money raised by the club stays local.

Over the years, the club’s achievements in the community have included getting a handicap accessible playground at Hammond and Morgan Falls Parks, constructing a ropes course at Sandy Springs Middle School to help develop children’s self esteem and building a Little League baseball stadium.

The Sandy Springs Mission’s executive director Felix Lora and board member Lynn Knox gratefully accepted the club’s donation at the breakfast meeting.

“This has been a faithful partnership throughout the years,” he said.

The Mission, which is located at 4577 Roswell Road in Sandy Springs, works to reach families through their children by providing after school programs, summer camp opportunities and other activities like the bike safety rodeo to engage area children. Lora said the money from the Optimist Club will help, among other things, Sandy Springs Mission continue to send children to camp free of charge.

Just this past summer, the group was able to send 80 children to a seen-week day camp.

Barbara Liptak, assistant principal at Woodland, likewise noted a longstanding relationship with the local Optimist Club.

“We’ve had an amazing partnership with this club,” Liptak said.

The administrator pointed out the partnership was an initiative of departed Woodland principal Noris Price, who recently left the elementary school to become a superintendent of instruction and curriculum in another county.

The money from the club, which does literacy work at Woodland as well as the oratorical contest, will partially go towards helping the charter school purchase uniforms for students’ families who cannot afford to do so. The uniform, Liptak said, was a requirement of Woodland’s charter status. The money will also go toward maintaining the school’s science lab, which is one of the few facilities of its kind among Fulton County elementary schools.

“The money we received is going to go to many different areas,” Liptak said. “We’re going to use some of that money to buy books and put them in the hands of children who may not have books in their own home.”

Brain Tumor Foundation executive director Mary Campbell said because the organization is expanding its efforts both in Sandy Springs and in a total of seven states throughout the southeast, their budget is ever increasing.

“This is really going to help us a lot,” Campbell said of the money her organization received from the Optimist Club.

The Brain Tumor Foundation for Children is a nonprofit organization that helps provide financial and emotional support for the families of children being treated for brain tumors.

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