On a sunny June day, golfers and celebrity-golfers alike took over the Eagles Nest Golf Club in support of the Children’s Aid Foundation. The annual Joe Carter Classic, founded by former Blue Jay Joe Carter, brings out big names from across the sports world, which this year included the likes of Damon Allen, Rod Black, Martin Brodeur, Wendel Clark, Doug Gilmour, Kelly Gruber, Joffrey Lupul, Trish Stratus, and Alan Thicke, amongst many others. Now in it’s fifth year, Carter has always been a major supporter of children’s charities that fund programs for at-risk youth.
“I’ve always been involved with helping children,” says Carter. “Way back when I was eight, nine, ten-years-old, I was doing things at home for my community and helping-out. And then when I got to the big leagues, I was a chairman at Ronald McDonald House, and saw the faces of the kids when you talk to them, when you raise some money for them — you give them hope, you make them feel important. And that put a smile on my face, and coming to Toronto with the Children’s Aid Foundation, I thought it was a perfect fit for this golf tournament because these are people who are abused and come from broken homes.”
“When I was 18, I didn’t know what to do. I went away to college and had my parents backing me, they guided and mentored me. But when you have children who are abused and from broken homes, who don’t have that support system, where do they go?”
Sports broadcaster, Rod Black, also attended the Joe Carter Classic in support of the Foundation and Joe himself. “If you had to have a spokesperson for kids, Joe Carter would be the guy,” says Black. “As an athlete he was exceptional, but I think what makes him a better person and a champion is the stuff he does for kids. He understands the [work of] the Children’s Aid Foundation and that some kids need a push, need an incentive, need help at certain times. It breaks his heart to see kids that can’t get the things that he had or could give his kids, and I think that’s where it comes from: the heart. A lot of people just put their names on things and don’t really know about the charity; Joe Carter knows about this charity, Joe does this because he wants to help.”
Carter adds that the target age of funding recipients is 18-25, as they seem to be a largely forgotten demographic. “When I was 18, I didn’t know what to do. I went away to college and had my parents backing me, they guided and mentored me. But when you have children who are abused and from broken homes, who don’t have that support system, where do they go? That’s what this tournament has always been about, and that’s what it will continue to be about: helping these young men and women educate themselves from age 18-25 so that they can be not just a statistic, but help solve the problem and help others who are less fortunate and let them know: “I’ve been in your shoes, I’ve been there before, you can make it, you know why? Because I made it.”