Sara's Garden and its special needs school, New Horizons Academy, are working with the group Buck-Icon to throw a tailgate party this Saturday for Ohio State's matchup with Illinois at Sara's Gardens' Hope Center.
There will be a free will donation meal provided, consisting of burgers, hot dogs, chips and cole slaw, etc. The proceeds of any donation given will benefit both Sara's Garden and Buck-Icon's community outreach services.
Buck-Icon is a group created by former Buckeye defensive end James Cotton. Primarily, the group centers around hosting various football camps for underprivileged kids around the state of Ohio. However, they also try to help other area groups and organizations with fundraisers, which is where Sara's Garden and New Horizon comes in.
“The atmosphere (at these events) is awesome. We look forward to hanging with the kids that will be attending the event,” Cotton said. “It is with great pleasure to raise proceeds for underprivileged youth because I was one of the kids growing up in the inner city of Cleveland, so it truly means a lot for me to pay it forward.”
Sara's Garden, beginning in 2004 has been working to help children with such disabilities as autism and cerebral palsy through programs like autism intervention, hyperbaric oxygen therapy and sensory intervention. It is their mission to help these disabled children and their families in anyway they can.
“We were contacted by James (Cotton) and Buck-Icon about partnering up with them. It was really a great match for us because they center around helping kids that are underprivelaged also,” New Horizon's Development Director Kevin Stamm said.
“Its open to the public and we would love for any Buckeye fan around to come out. It should be festive,” Stamm added.
Stamm and the rest of the staff at Sara's Garden are hopeful that with this event they can start on a fund that will help them build a handicapped accessible playground at New Horizon. While they do not expect to reach their goal for fundraising at the event, the shear popularity of OSU football in this area should help draw a crowd, hence more donations.
Another positive to holding this event is that it will help to unite the community of Wauseon by allowing fans of the Buckeyes to gather and watch the game together.
“The community has been terrific, so supportive of us” Stamm said. “This event will give them a chance to meet former Buckeye players and possibly get autographs.”
It will also be beneficial to Cotton and the rest of the Buck-Icon team in that it will help them with future endeavors.
“Doing an event at Sara's Garden gives us the opportunity to establish relationships with the community in Wauseon and surrounding areas to potentially do football camps, and other types of events,” Cotton said.
In addition to Cotton, fellow former Buckeye's Courtland Bullard and Michael Wiley will also be in attendance. During the event, there will be a silent auction of various OSU memorabilia and one lucky person will win two free tickets to next Saturday's game with Indiana at Ohio Stadium in Columbus.
Doors will open at 11 a.m. and the players will arive one hour before game time which is 12 p.m.