On Saturday, I spent the day at two separate charity events in Tallahassee. The first involved playing in a charity tennis tournament that benefits Catholic Charities of Northwest Florida. Each year, this charity, among its many programs, has a Christmas Connection drive, where it provides gifts and services to those in need. The tennis tournament that was held Saturday at Forest Meadows tennis center in Tallahassee raises money for the Christmas Connection drive. It was a round robin style tennis tournament.
I played in the 8.5 men's doubles draw with my friend and JMI member John Brooks and I played in the 8.5 mixed doubles draw with my colleague Laura Ward. I also participated in a serving target contest. All the funds from the tournament registration fees and associated contests go towards the charity. There was a very good turnout and the day started with a blessing by Father Will Ganci, who also played in one of the men's doubles brackets.
It was a scorching hot day, and after playing men's doubles in the morning and mixed doubles in the afternoon, I had to spend a few hours at home rehydrating and relaxing, before I was to take to the dance floor for another charity event Saturday night.
I attended the 6th annual Party4Purpose 80's prom in Tallahassee. Each year, this event is held to raise money for one of many competing charities. The 80s themed event was held at three downtown establishments: Paradigm, Clyde's and Andrews. There were live bands playing cover songs from the 80s, a video screen showing music videos and other clips from 80s movies, as well as DJ's spinning 80s music. And the best part: attendees dress up in costumes as if we were living in the 80s. It was a lot of fun. The cover charge of $10 and part of the drinks consumed go to charity. When attendees enter, they are shown a board of the 7 "competing" charities and they cast a vote for one of them. The one who wins gets all the money that was raised at the event - a winner take all.
This year, the seven local competing charities included: (1) Big Bend Hospice, (2) Big Brothers & Big Sisters of the Big Bend, (3) Capital City Youth Services, (4) Guardian ad Litem, (5) Magnolia School, (6) Ovarian Cancer Alliance of North Florida, and (7) Special Olympics of Leon County.
I personally got a lot out of these two events. They were fun ways to learn about the charitable causes going on right here in Tallahassee. I applaud these two organizations for bringing awareness to these causes by hosting meaningful events to raise money for these great charitable organizations. The organizers of these events put a lot of time and effort into making sure every detail was covered - and the time they devoted to pulling off such successful events is much more than any of us could possibly give. They also showed that when people come together as a community for causes worth supporting, private charity often fulfills the greatest needs in our communities - and they are causes worth supporting with our time, talents, and treasures. For centuries, American civil society has been built through voluntary associations that these charities represent. The tennis tournament and the 80s prom are unique ways in which members of our own community here in Tallahassee came together voluntarily to be a part of this American tradition.