Fore a great cause – Golfers coaches get together to aid foundation

BLOOMFIELD HILLS – It was an opportunity to play one of the greatest golf courses in the world and to also make a difference in a family’s life by doing it.

For The Kids Foundation presented the Coaches For The Kids golf tournament July 10 at Oakland Hills Country Club.

All the proceeds went to the foundation, which is set up to help children who have lost a parent, something the founder, Norman Yatooma, experienced in 1993 when his father, Manuel, was murdered.

“On a day-to-day basis, we’re really trying to provide for a family that lost their mom or dad,” Yatooma said. “Everything my family needed, in short, when my father passed away.

“There are a lot of charities that do a lot for a lot of people, but no organization that focused on kids that had a normal life on Monday and, on Tuesday, everything changed.”

The outing included a formal dinner and auction the night before the golf tournament at which For The Kids raised $103,000.

“It’s overwhelming, really,” Yatooma said about the event. “Yesterday being here and seeing 300 people dressed in tuxedos and realizing this is actually for the purposes of For The Kids Foundation and, more specifically, my father’s memory, it truly is overwhelming.”

Helping at the event were Michigan State University coaches Tom Izzo, John L. Smith and Joanne P. McCallie.

For Izzo, he said it’s an easy cause to get behind.

“When you see the passion that someone has for something, and you can see results so immediate as this cause, it just seemed like an incredible cause, he said.

“I love being around people that are passionate about what they do. I thought this thing had a chance to be really good, and, after last night, I was wrong – it was great.”

Oakland Hills Chief Operating Officer Richard Bayliss Jr. also believes in this cause.

“They are a good group of people that truly care,” he said.

For The Kids is also helped out by the work put in by approximately 200 volunteers.

“We have volunteers from every walk of life,” Yatooma said. “They really are the backbone of the organization.”

Currently, most of the work serves southeast Michigan, but Yatooma hopes to reach more of the Midwest within two years and be on a national basis in seven. Since For the Kids’ inception on Father’s Day 2003, 249 families have been assisted. The help reaches from grief counseling and scholarships to simply mowing the lawn, among many other things.

Still, to Yatooma, nobody gets more out of this than he does.

“No matter what we do for these kids and their families, there’s nobody more rewarded by this than me,” he said. To have some silver lining to my father’s very abrupt and violent death is too good to be true.”

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