Whaley Children’s Center hosted the 28th Annual Whaley Golf Classic presented by Client Financial Services on Monday, September 9 at Warwick Hills Golf and Country Club.
The event was co-hosted by George Blaha, voice of the Detroit Pistons, and Mateen Cleaves, Flint native and former Michigan State University basketball star and Detroit Piston, and raised a total of $67,000. All proceeds from the event go directly toward funding the residential and therapeutic programs and services Whaley provides for nearly 90 child survivors of abuse and neglect each year from across the State of Michigan.
In addition to appearances by Blaha and Cleaves, celebrities in attendance included former MSU Spartan and current Pistons announcer Greg “Special K” Kelser, former Detroit Piston Vinnie “The Microwave” Johnson, former Spartans Morris Peterson and Charlie Bell, former MSU All-Big Ten center and current Spartan football analyst Jason Strayhorn and Emmy award winning songwriter Dave Barrett. The event commenced with a celebrity auction offering each celebrity to play nine holes with the team of the highest bidder.
“Having such overwhelming celebrity support and a dedicated volunteer planning committee were the major reasons for the day’s successes,” said Whaley Special Events Coordinator DeAndra McCain.
In addition to playing golf on the world-class course at Warwick Hills, event attendees participated in a variety of hole games as well as a live and silent auction. Notably, Barrett performed “One Shining Moment,” the song he wrote that is now known as the track played to highlight the winner of the NCAA tournament each year.
One of the most anticipated aspects of the evening was the live auction. George Blaha stepped in as the auctioneer and sold everything from autographed sports memorabilia, meet and greets with Tom Izzo and Mark Danantonio and vacations to Mexico and South Africa.
“Our guests were extremely generous with their gifts, and we are especially grateful they spent this important day with us,” Whaley’s Director of Development Katrina Khouri said. “All the support from our community is what keeps our Center running at such a high level and allows us to provide hope, love and care to so many children who need protection, love and care.”
Event sponsors included Client Financial Services, Landaal Packaging, FirstMerit Bank, Signs by Crannie, Elga Credit Union, Wolverine Solutions Group, Al Bourdeau Insurance Agency, Security Credit Union, Financial Plus Federal Credit Union, Dr. Walter Barkey, Big John Steak and Onion, PNC Bank, McGuirk Realty and Research Money Management.
The next fundraising event benefitting the children at Whaley Children’s Center is the World’s Greatest Office Party on Thursday, December 5 at the Holiday Inn Gateway Centre. For more information about Whaley special events, please contact DeAndra McCain via email or by phone at (810) 600-0100.
Whaley Children’s Center is an independent, 501 c(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1926 that provides residential child care services to children age 5- 17 years old who have suffered chronic and profound abuse and neglect. The services provided to children and families include residential treatment, group homes, and family counseling and aftercare service. To learn more about Whaley Children’s Center, visit www.whaleychildren.org