In the Rotary Year 1999-2000 Rotarian Wolf Tausendfreund suggested a Golf Tournament as a major fundraising event for the Club and Bob Clute stepped up to chair this event.  The priority was to include children and it was agreed from the start that 10% of net revenue would go to the Hastings County Children's Foundation for Kids in Care for educational bursaries.  The first event took place in July 2003.  With a great team of volunteers including Ken Wheeler, Bernie Ouellet, Vince Lynch, the late Bob Michaud, Rotary Loves Kids was born!  Twenty-one years later and the event is going strong for the Rotary Club of Belleville.
Executive Director of the Children's Foundation Melanie Cressman recently sent a letter to the Board of Directors of the Rotary Club expressing their gratitude for the support over the years.  Last year alone they were able to support over 1500 children and youth, but 2023 marked a significant increase in the number of children and youth supported through the Foundation's core program.  The mission of the Children's Foundation provides and funds programs aimed at ensuring all children and youth in Hastings, Northumberland and Prince Edward Counties have social and physical opportunities to explore, learn, play and thrive.  Their six (6) core programs are:
  • Playing for Keeps - helps cover the registration fees of sports and other activities
  • Camps of Hope - subsidizes the registration fees for camps
  • Strive to Thrive - focuses on mental health supports and therapy programs for youth
  • Reach for Success - supports youth as they transition from care to independent living
  • Keep Baby Safe - supplies cribs, mattresses and car seats to ensure the safety of an infant
  • Holiday Angel Tree - ensures that marginalized families can celebrate with gifts and good food over the Christmas holidays
A recent strategic planning process continues the Children's Foundation alignment with the Rotary Club of Belleville's area of focus of supporting education.  At the June 13th President's Night, Rotary President Peter Malone presented a cheque for $5,000 to the Children's Foundation to continue the Club's support of the work the organization does for children and youth in our community.  Pictured are Cassandra Bonn, Melanie Cressman and Peter Malone.