How far-reaching the causes of the Solon Rotary are was made clear during a fundraising event that combined exercise and entertainment last Saturday.
Presented for the ninth year, a Day for Freedom included a 5K Fun Run at the Solon Community Center and bowling party at Rollhouse Entertainment, all benefiting organizations freeing people from hunger and homelessness and aiding those suffering from addiction. A total of $15,000 was raised that evening.
“We partnered with True Freedom Ministries trying to find and help with the roots of poverty and educate people after they have been incarcerated,” Rotary member and Solon resident Jim Hyde said. “It’s the forgotten piece.”
While these issues are not as prevalent in Solon as they are nation and worldwide, the Rotary attempts to make a wider impact, Mr. Hyde said.
Lakewood resident Alex Zebrowski, who attended the bowling party, said he grew up in Cleveland’s inner city. He said it is critical to support True Freedom’s mission to assist those in need, especially children.
“The kids never get out of the system,” Mr. Zebrowski said, “and they need additional services.” It’s important to “break the cycle,” he said.
The causes supported that evening were a nice tie-in to the club’s overall mission of Service Above Self, South Russell resident and Rotary President Chris Janson said.
The Day for Freedom has gained momentum over the years, with about 100 in attendance last weekend, including Mayor Edward H. Kraus and some city officials.
“The Rotary is a great community organization,” Mayor Kraus said. “They are all Solon residents trying to make a difference. Their whole goal is to give back to the community.”
Solon resident and Rotary member Irina P’Simer said Rotary members are wonderful because they do so much in Solon and Cleveland as well as across the globe. For example, the club is working to bring clean water to the people of Uganda, she said.
“For such a small club to do this is amazing,” she added.
In the Solon community, the club sponsors a monthly food pantry and free produce distribution for older residents. The local Rotary also works with the Solon Interact Club at the high school and travels to El Salvador to build wells for communities without easy access to fresh drinking water.
The Solon Rotary has 22 members.
Attendees of the bowling party enjoyed games of laser tag and games of chance in the arcade, as well as an opportunity to socialize and a 50/50 raffle.
Past Rotary president and Rollhouse owner Glenn Gable, of Pepper Pike, said the Rotary grouped its efforts to also include benefiting the Theo Bowman Center in Cleveland, as well as its work in Uganda.
“Part of Rotary is to do something domestically and internationally,” Mr. Gable said.
“They do such good work locally and internationally,” added Councilman William I. Russo, who was in attendance.
“It’s a good fundraiser,” Solon resident Owen Grossman, 13, a student at Solon Middle School, said. Owen bowled with a group of fellow teens. “It brings together the community to help out.”