Gaming Staff Donation Helps Children In Need
By Vida Volkert
HOLLYWOOD - With a generous contribution, Hollywood Seminole Gaming staff brightened the Christmas of several families at the Joe DiMaggio Clubhouse.
"This is the second year we donated $1,000 to the Clubhouse," says Cheryl Asman, casino manager about the contribution that was made Dec. 24. "We feel it is our duty to support our community and our employees are very enthusiastic about sharing with those in need."
At the Hollywood Casino, every employee knows the importance of his or her contribution and as if possessed by the giving spirit of Christmas they all participated in the raffle organized by Asman and floor supervisor Sharon Weilandt.
"Half of the money collected through the raffle is kept by the winner and the other half goes to the Clubhouse," says Asman, adding that this year casino cashier Bonnie Ward became the Santa Claus of the day, donating half of the toys she won at the raffle to the children residing at the Clubhouse.
At the Clubhouse, excited residents and workers received the donation with gratitude and provided a tour of the facilities to Weilandt and Ward.
"The Joe DiMaggio Visitors Clubhouse is a nonprofit residence created in 1992 by donations from people and corporations," says Teresa Magrath, the Clubhouse director of sponsorship development, adding that families with children in the Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital are welcome to stay at the clubhouse free of charge and based on availability.
"Our guests really mean a lot to us, thanks for supporting our cause," Magrath said in accepting the Hollywood Seminole Gaming donation.
Paige Coffman, the Clubhouse manager, also expressed her gratitude and said the donation will be used to help pay building debts accumulated through recent modifications to the facilities.
"This clubhouse serves a great need," Coffman said. "It offers private bedrooms, communal living and dining rooms, a playroom for children, a conference room where support groups can meet, a chapel, and a family resource library where parents and siblings can become informed about their child's illness. We are very grateful," Coffman said, referring to the Seminole contribution.
Residents were also moved by the generosity of the staff and expressed their appreciation.
"We are very fortunate to be here," said Jennifer Johnson, a mother of four children. Two of Johnson's children are undergoing treatment for cancer at the Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital. One has lost an arm to the disease, and the other is being treated in hopes of saving his.
Johnson said she appreciates the support given to her family and thanked the Hollywood Seminole Gaming staff for their contribution to the Clubhouse.
"People's support and contributions demonstrate that God has not forgotten us. Thank you all. I appreciate what you have done for us," Johnson said. The Johnson family is one out of eight families currently residing at the Clubhouse, which was named for the legendary baseball star, although he has nothing to do with the facility.
Thanks to the support given by the Clubhouse staff and contributors like Hollywood Seminole Gaming staff, these families are enduring their pain with faith, hope, and dignity.
"When I first visited the Clubhouse, I left in tears and a broken heart," says Weilandt. "It is very sad to realize that while many families are celebrating the holidays, the families at the Joe DiMaggio Clubhouse are thanking God for letting their children survive for another year."
Anyone interested in contributing to the Clubhouse can call (954) 987-2020, ext. 3100, or send donation to Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital Foundation c/o Visitor's Clubhouse, 921 N. 35th Ave., Hollywood, FL 33021-9681.