The cheerleaders at Central Falls High School will wear matching shoes and wave pom-poms – for the very first time – at games this year because of the Democratic Club in Barrington.
And Special Olympians will benefit next from the club’s new fundraising effort, said club member Kevin DeLory, who is spearheading the effort with members Sean Cardin and Peter Jackson.
“We are so lucky in Barrington to be able to afford these things for our kids,” said DeLory, speaking of the shoes and pom-poms. “Some kids can’t even get the $50 for a physical, or they can’t buy shoes, so they don’t play.”
DeLory said the Democratic Club is targeting exactly these types of kids – student-athletes who need some help to play sports. It is being named in memory of a member who died recently, Kevin J. Wright.
“Sports kept me in school,” said DeLory, who grew up in Warwick. “And most of the guys have been involved in sports.”
When the idea from DeLory, Cardin and Jackson was put before the club, he said: “It was amazing how willingly they accepted the challenge.”
The club is targeting a different need every month or every other month, DeLory said, depending on the amount of funds that can be raised. And so far, he said, so good.
“Every day I go into the club, I find another envelope,” he said.
Shirts are being sold among the members, too, he said. But the club also knows it needs to reach out to the community to raise money if it wants to achieve its goal.
This Saturday, Aug. 11, for instance, the club is hosting a 2 pm barbecue with Jackson, a chef, doing the cooking at its Roffee Street facility. Tickets are $20. There will raffles as well, DeLory said.
All of that money will go into the fund for needy athletes or athletics programs.
“Anyone can contact the club if they have a need,” DeLory said. “Support will be determined based entirely on need.”
The reaction from Central Falls has been especially pleasing to club members, he said. He shared an email he received from the cheerleading coach.
"On behalf of the Central Falls High School Cheerleaders, I would like to thank the Democratic Club of Barrington for their generous donation. The girls will be thrilled to start the cheerleading season off with not only new Poms but for the first time actually having them."
DeLory said the new fundraiser is primarily for deserving kids. But he hopes the effort also will help to erase a negative perception about the club that developed when it became known the club had never had a female member until about four month months ago. Two women, including Town Councilor Cynthia Coyne, have been accepted as members of the club since then.
“I hope this helps to overcome the club’s bad reputation,” DeLory said of the fundraising effort. “This is really a good place to go to have a drink and a laugh.”