There are thousands of underprivileged children right here in our own backyard that needs help in many aspects of their life. Children need good role models and people to look up to. They need to feel like they belong and know that they have something to offer. They need a positive, structured environment, and good social skills. Many children have never been to a store like Wal-Mart or Target. They have never been to a movie or a sit-down restaurant. They could never imagine what Disney World or Universal was like. Most are living in a bubble of poverty. This is why the Every Child Matters organization was started.
The primary purpose for Every Child Matters is: to help children who truly need help through one-on-one sponsorship and mentoring that can make such a tremendous difference in their lives. This organization helps connect people that want to help (Sponsors), with underprivileged at-risk youth in our community that truly need it.
Every Child Matters was the idea of Amanda Fatigate. Amanda, a lifelong resident of Coral Springs, has been heavily involved in community sports in Coral Springs, especially with youth soccer. She played for Coral Springs Youth Soccer (CSYS ) for 15 years, and now she coaches. Amanda volunteered at a local church aftercare program called Sandwich Club. Most of the children that attend live below the poverty level. Many have behavior issues and are getting low grades in school. Amanda had an idea one day to help one of these kids by getting them signed up for soccer, with the agreement that the child had to do better in school. Amanda had always been bothered by the fact that kids who live below the poverty level didn’t have the same opportunities that she had growing up, so she wanted to give these kids the same chances. Once this child started playing soccer, they made a complete 180 turnaround. His grades went from Fs to As, and his behavior changed for the better. It looked like this approach really worked. Amanda approached Mike Brockway, a family friend, about an idea to start a grass-roots organization to help kids in the community through sports. Mike loved the idea and immediately jumped in to help start EVERY CHILD MATTERS (ECM) five years ago.
Since that time, ECM has grown to offer more than just sports. It has become a full-fledged mentorship program, with sponsors working directly with each child in all facets of their lives. They started out with around 10 children in the program and now there are 17. They are a 501c3 non-profit organization and run entirely on donations.
This past May, one of the first kids in the program graduated from high school. Without ECM, this child stated that they would have dropped out of school, and would have been on the streets with no future. Mike and Amanda truly believe that if they can show these kids what hard work and dedication looks like, it will help them become the best that they can be. ECM hopes to have 25 kids in the program by the end of the year. Actually finding the kids is easy. The big issue is finding mentors (Sponsors). It is very difficult to find people willing to find time in their busy lives to dedicate to a child in need.
Because ECM runs entirely on donations, they are having a big fundraiser coming up in August. The fundraiser is a golf tournament at the Coral Springs Country Club on Saturday, August 29th. All the money raised goes right back to helping the children. ECM buys clothing, food, school supplies, pays for sports programs, and gives the kids the experiences that they would not have otherwise. Check out their website for more information at www.everychildmatters.com