Blogs > Jim Collins' Editor's Notebook

Jim Collins is editor emeritus of The News-Herald and also serves as executive in residence at Lakeland Community College. His popular weekly column appears each Sunday in Comment in The News-Herald.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Many are behind a great cause

When does a vision become a reality?

It all depends on how much drive, enthusiasm and determination exists in the heart of the dreamer who concocted the vision.

In the case of the Coaches’ Corner Home in Painesville, which in its infancy is reaching to attain success, the original dreamer was Coach Devlin Culliver of Painesville Schools.

He envisioned a group of young men who were basically good kids but who were displaced for reasons beyond their control.

Year after year they had been eating and sleeping at the homes of anyone who would provide a hot meal and a warm place to bunk down. To anyone who understood the problem, it was a heartbreaking existence

Several of Culliver’s fellow Harvey High coaches also recognized the problem, and dug into their own pockets to help. The local NAACP chapter also was a big help.

But although the problem was easily understood, it was beyond the ability of those who first recognized it — until help arrived. And that help did come.

Coaches’ Corner Home is now a reality. It is a real house, staffed by real people. Its occupants are real kids who need a helping hand. And the concept is working because that helping hand was held out by a compassionate community of good-hearted citizens who not only want to help, but who, in the parlance of the street, are willing to put their money where their mouths are.

Good ideas often don’t bear fruit until adequate financing comes along.

So how do you raise funds for such an obviously worthwhile project? Simple.

Well, not so simple, actually. Such an enterprise requires the involvement of a lot of good people who are willing to contact other good people, plead their case, and act together to achieve results.

First on the agenda was a fundraiser. Such an event was the First Annual Fundraiser and Silent Auction, held May 16 at Quail Hollow County Club in Concord Township. It was a resounding success.

But that was only because of the people involved. It is important for you to be aware of who the good folks are behind Coaches’ Corner Home.

Officers of the home are Michael Bernal, president; Debra Douglas, secretary; and Allison Puckett, treasurer. The project director is James E. Dillard.

I don’t have the space to get into who they are other than to say that they are part and parcel of what Painesville is all about. I know all of them and can vouch for the fact that they are wonderful people.

The board of directors consists of Kay Hatala, Connie Strickland, Donald Waytes and Dr. Michael P. Hanlon, Painesville’s superintendent of schools.

Ex-officio members are Sudhir Achar, Matt Armand and Gary Campbell.

The sponsors of the fundraiser are worthy of mention. They were Avery Dennison, Classic Automobile Group, Dworken & Bernstein (Lawyers Give Back), Fredon Corp., Habitat for Humanity, Lake County Captains Baseball, Lakeland College Foundation, Lubrizol Corp., Painesville Schools, Regent Systems and the Sara Lamade White Foundation.

If you think those are impressive names, you are correct.

Welcoming remarks were made by a guy I watch every morning. He constantly amazes me by the number of suits, shirts and ties he owns — Channel 8 morning news co-anchor Wayne Dawson.

The lady of the house and I spent a lot of time talking to him after the program, but were kind enough to let him get away. He goes on the air about 4:30 in the morning.

I think he said 4:30. I couldn’t swear to it. I’m not up then.

The rest of the speakers were introduced by Ray Somich of WELW, 1330 on your AM dial. They included Coach Culliver, who presented the "vision" of the Coaches’ Corner Home, and Pat Perotti, an attorney with Dworken & Bernstein, who spoke of the "dedication" involved. He is the man who put cy pres in everyone’s vocabulary. Simply put, he gave away millions to charity that was unclaimed from a class action law suit settlement.

The star of the show was keynote speaker Dru Joyce II, a compelling and much in demand lecturer who is known as one of the best and most successful high school basketball coaches in the country.

His star pupil in Akron was LeBron James. You have probably heard of him. If Joyce had talked for three hours, I would have listened. He was that good.

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