|By Danielle Paine|
Reminder Assistant Editor
HAMPDEN One group of local volunteers wants people to party with them on St. Patrick's Day, for a cause.
The Recreation Association of Hampden is hosting their 2nd annual St. Patrick's Day Party on March 17, 6 p.m. at the Hampden Country Club to benefit Hampden Youth Athletics.
"I think sports in general are important to kids because it gives them great social skills and health benefits," explained Vice President of the group, Rich DeMattia. "As they get older, kids that don't play sports are at greater risk for doing the wrong things."
Ever since budget cuts forced the town to stop funding many sports programs, R.A.H., a group of parent-volunteers has worked with the all-volunteer department of recreation to supply money for sports. Nearly 500 children of all ages play town sports.
Field maintenance, uniforms and equipment have all been provided by donations to R.A.H. The town's only profit from these are user fees from each child which typically covers basics such as referee fees and some uniforms.
"Parks and Recreation lets us know what they need for money," DeMattia explained. "It's more where their shortfalls are that decides how to apply it that year, it can really differ."
In addition, R.A.H. also awards two scholarships of $250 each to high school seniors from Hampden. The awards are given every spring to one male and one female based on an essay detailing "what playing Hampden sports meant to them."
Two hundred people attended last year's Irish dinner to aid the group in raising $3,000 for the year's youth activities. DeMattia said they are considering also hosting a charity golf tournament this fall.
"Join us on St. Patrick's Day to have a good time with friends and neighbors and raise money to support youth sports," DeMattia added. "Kids grow up to be healthy, well adjusted individuals if they're involved in sports beginning at a young age."
For more information, or to purchase tickets, call 530-4797.