As public school teachers Courtney and I see the best and sometimes the saddest of what our community has to offer here in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. Some of the stories we hear, sometimes from kids themselves, break our hearts. We felt it was important to actively work to try and help out those in our community who might need a little boost. There are already plenty of great organizations that work to help those in our community who need, but sometimes we know that these organization can use a boost to do the good they do.
As you may have read in an earlier blog post, we’re also in love with Four Roses bourbon. Last summer we were lucky enough to be able to head to the distillery to select our very own barrel of Four Roses.
Nicknamed “La Brigantessa”, this barrel was shared with a group of friends who were willing to pony up a couple of extra bucks per bottle to help raise money for OLPH Youth Soccer, a great local organization that depends on volunteers to help keep costs down. Hosting clinics and youth leagues at The Father Thomas Foley Athletic Complex underneath the BQE, my kids were lucky enough to participate in this wonderful program when they were younger.
Seeing every weekend what these dedicated folks do here at OLPH is inspiring to say the least, but then came the shocker. After our last season, our two children told us that they no longer wanted to play soccer. We could tell that it was coming as each weekend when we were there they seemed less and less interested in playing the game, and more interested in hanging with friends. At one point, my son Hudson, decided he would simply kick each and every cone that was up as he marched down the touchline. Comically, a young volunteer coach was following him picking them up just as quickly. So when it came time to re-register, we called up and said that the kids were no longer interested in playing soccer, but thanked the organization for their hard work and dedication.The response on the other end was deep regret. “Oh no, please, if it’s the money, don’t worry about it, we’ll get them in. We’d rather see a kid play than not.” I was floored. It wasn’t the money, just an interest in other things, but it got me thinking…if they offered this to us, they must offer this service FREE to other families. Families who DO need the help.
Providing an athletic outlet for children is something I’m very passionate about. It’s something that saved me from a very bored childhood and most definitely prevented me from making some pretty terrible decisions. It provided a support mechanism and a group of friend I could turn to if I needed ANYTHING. Some of these folks I still call friends today. This was when it hit me that we had a responsibility to do something good to help such a wonderful organization, that has given so much. This is when we decided, last year, that our barrel of bourbon should go to help kids who can’t afford to be part of such a great program, play, without impacting the already stretched volunteers and organizers.
Thanks to our group (a now permanent group of seventy five men and women dedicated to buying barrels of bourbon with the sole purpose of enjoying it, while raising some money to help local charities) we were able to give this check to Martin Brennan, who heads the OLPH Youth Soccer Program after taking over from his dad who founded it. It was incredibly gratifying to be able to do something so good, so real, right here in our Bay Ridge community.
This past week, we made the trip to Kentucky again. This time we were able to purchase two barrels, both with the proceeds going to another worthy organization in the neighborhood, Bay Ridge Cares.
These guys also do wonderful work within our community providing support for local families who have fallen on hard times and are in some pretty extenuating circumstances. You can learn more about what they do here:
Two excellent barrels of bourbon were purchased and will be enjoyed, and we can now help another organization dedicated to helping others, through our love of bourbon and the fortunate opportunity we were given with access to these special barrels.