'Clays for Kids' hits another successful target

More than 100 people helped the Oakwood Foundation blast their way to another successful fundraiser and helped bring big smiles and new opportunities to children with disabilities throughout Wayne County.

The Farbman Group and Toni and Randy Kowalski proudly presented the Clays for Kids event on Tuesday, a unique fundraiser that generated more than $120,000 for Oakwood’s Center for Exceptional Families. The event took place at the Detroit Gun Club and allowed shooting enthusiasts and novices alike a chance to try out the members-only sports club. One hundred and three shooters took part. The 22 items up for auction generated more than $13,000.

“It’s a very unique, one-day event,” said Kowalski, who founded the fundraiser three years ago. “It’s really a lot of fun….and you get to break things.”

The funds generated will support the Center for Exceptional Families, a facility unlike any other in the state. It’s a fully-integrated, comprehensive facility that provides care for children with disabilities and their families. The Center provides everything from high-quality healthcare to social workers, mental health services, physical, rehabilitation and recreational therapy—all under one roof. Based in Dearborn, it serves more than 2,000 people from 12 counties in southeastern Michigan, Ohio and the Upper Peninsula. It is funded primarily through donations and grants, and serves the families regardless of their ability to pay.

“It’s truly a world-class, specialized program,” said Farbman. “So many families and their children have found a fit there when there was nowhere else to turn to for help.”

The Clays for Kids event will help support the summer camp program, which allows children with disabilities the opportunity to work on social skills, motor skills, communication and interaction with their peers. It will help finance the Teens Take Over program, which empowers young adults to advocate for themselves, live independently and make a positive impact on the community. The funds will also provide for the annual birthday party—something many children wouldn’t otherwise experience.

“Every dollar we raise brings a big smile to someone, more opportunities to these wonderful young adults and will help them build confidence that will stay with them for their entire lives,” said Carla O’Malley, executive director and president of the Oakwood Foundation. “We are truly appreciative of the support.”
Planning is already under way for next year’s event.

“After three successful years, it’s really coming together,” said Farbman. “Next year we hope it will be even bigger and better.”

CUTLINES: Randy Kowalski (above) co-founder and major sponsor of the Clays for Kids event, takes aim on Tuesday.
(Below): Nice shot, Joe Diederich!
(Bottom): The auctions items generated more than $13,000 of the $123,000 proceeds!