Photos by Rick Di Lorenzo
It started five years ago as a conversation between Milton Orthotics and Wellness Centre Owner Angelo Posteraro and Rotary Club member Rod McLachlan. The two men wanted to help the community, and get kids active. “It supported physical activity, and supported a charity.”
They gathered a group of volunteers together forming organizing committee. The idea was fun, and simple. Build rinks in a parking lot, and give kids a chance to play ball hockey. The entry fee was $10/ player. They chose the Reach Out Centre for Kids (R.O.C.K.) as their charity. The tournament celebrated its fifth year June 10, and 11. The teams are drafted on the day of the tournament, giving kids a chance to make new friends.
This is the second year they’ve included adults. “When adults play, they become kids again,” Posteraro explained. The organizers kept getting requests from adults to be a part of it. “I played last year, and I felt like a little kid again playing with my friends like I used to,” he said.
The R.O.C.K. is an organization offering mental health services to youth, and families throughout Halton Region. McLachlan is gratified to see awareness spreading. “Kids go through tough times, whether it be divorce, or the loss of a loved one. All of these things we’re seeing in earnest. The R.O.C.K.; they’re great in offering the solutions.” McLachlan said. Services offered include a walk-in therapy clinic, as well as drop-in groups.
One of the programs they offer is Youth Aiding Youth (YAY). Aly Mccarty went to school for a Child Youth program at Niagara College. She did placement as part of her schooling, and has been volunteering since it ended. “It’s meant a great deal to me to help out in the community, and bring people together” she said. YAY matches volunteers from 16-24 years of age with children aged 6-12 throughout Halton. Mccarty is working with their social skills programs in Halton schools. “You need to understand that people struggle. There needs to be help and resources, no matter the background, no matter the circumstances,” she said.
The tournament has raised approximately $70,000 over the last five years. They’ve had 2500 visitors, 200 volunteers, and 500 participants. Posteraro reflected on the milestone anniversary. “It lives and breathes with passion for ball-hockey, while supporting kids’ mental health,” he said of Game On. For more information on services offered by the ROCK visit: www.rockonline.ca