In the News December 2014
CLERMONT — The Boys and Girls Club South Lake Unit in Clermont was the site of a Christmas party for its members and those belonging to Lake and Sumter’s five other clubs.
The party was given to them by Robert Gamez, a three-time PGA tour winner and former club member, and his wife, Denise. “It’s amazing how they keep giving back more and more,” South Lake Unit Director Tracy Jones said.
Approximately 250 kids were at the party on Monday and all were treated to a fun-filled day including a pizza lunch, Christmas cookies, face-painting, a photo booth, activities and mingling with friends.
Kenyon Lockry, a country recording artist from Saint Cloud, donated his time singing live songs for the crowd and Montverde Academy sent students who manned craft and face painting tables.
In addition, the Gamez’s made sure that each and every kid there went home with a toy they were allowed to pick from tables loaded with stuffed animals, games, Lego sets, remote controlled cars, Barbie dolls, books, sporting equipment, baby dolls and much more.
“The kids being here is fabulous. It’s neat seeing them so excited and happy; their enthusiasm is unbelievable. That’s what it’s all about,” said Robert Gamez, adding that the party, in its second year, had a greater turnout this year than last. “I’m glad to see so many kids here.”
The kids were all members of Boys and Girls Club in Eustis, Umatilla, Leesburg, Lady Lake, Bushnell and Clermont. Money for the toys was raised from a golf tournament Gamez sponsored this year, and from local community individuals and businesses.
Robert Gamez, who lives in Orlando, grew up in Las Vegas and attended a Boys and Girls Club there, calls it an organization that remains “close to his heart.” He and his wife Denise, through The Team Gamez Foundation, have helped the club in the past and continue to do so whenever possible.
Mike Graff, a Boys and Girls Club board member, said he was thankful for everything Gamez has done for the club. “Mr. Gamez has been a true Godsend. He’s helped solidify our club with all his contributions,” Graff said.
According to every adult at the Christmas party, the children’s smiles spoke volumes. Even Clermont Mayor Gail Ash stopped by to witness the hundreds of grins. “Watching the kids’ faces when they get their toys is enough,” Ash said.
David Carmichael, the Unit Director of Leesburg’s Teeter Unit, said Gamez may not realize it, but for some of his kids, the gift they received at the party Monday may be the only one they’ll be receiving for Christmas.
“The joy and excitement the kids show are reminders of why we do what we do and a lot of credit today goes to the Gamez’s,” Carmichael said. “It’s honestly amazing they can pull this off. Some of our kids are basically getting a Christmas because of this.”
In the News April 2014
CLERMONT — Lake County schoolchildren are again riding to after-school activities — in style — thanks to PGA golfer Robert Gamez. Gamez raised money for a bus the Boys & Girls Clubs of Lake and Sumter Counties is using in the wake of the School Board ending free busing for kids headed to after-school programs.
The cuts, made before the 2013-14 school year, helped make up a budget shortfall but came, in part, at the expense of children who otherwise had no ways to get to destinations such as the Boys & Girls Club. "We were, unfortunately, one of the unintended consequences," said Freddy Williams, the club's chief professional officer.
Lake school buses were already passing the club's facilities in Clermont and elsewhere, so dropping off students "was a win-win for everyone," getting kids to a safe place after school and saving the club transportation costs.
But that came to an end, leaving the club to find the money and resources to provide transportation on its own. In stepped Gamez, a professional golfer who lives in Central Florida and describes himself as a "Boys & Girls Club kid" in his youth. Gamez raised about $60,000 for the club through his Team Gamez foundation last fall.
'Nice to be able to help'
"The Boys & Girls Club gets these kids off the street and gives them structure," Gamez said. "It's nice to be able to help people who need it." The club already had a bus in mind. With the cash from Gamez the bus was purchased and went on the road recently. It's based at the club's Clermont site. Gamez helped host a sponsor appreciation party at the club so his charity's donors could see the bus up close.
"It makes it nice when sponsors can see what their money went to," Gamez said. "It's a great thing. My wife and I are happy to be involved in it." Williams said the bus has been a good billboard for the club — five families with 10 kids signed up in the first week the bus was on the road. He said the bus was wrapped at a discount by Graphics Direct. "He stepped up in a huge way," Williams said of Gamez.
In the News January 2014
The bus donated by PGA golfer Robert Gamez was unveiled Monday at the South Lake Unit in Clermont.
LAKE COUNTY -- The Boys and Girls Club of Lake and Sumter Counties now has a new bus thanks to PGA golfer Robert Gamez.
The three-time PGA tour winner was part of the Boys and Girls Club while growing up so when he heard about the organization's need for a new bus he stepped up. Through his Team Gamez Foundation, he donated $60,000, including a $15,000 bus which was unveiled Monday at the South Lake Unit in Clermont. The bus will help transport dozens of kids to the club on a daily basis.
In the News January 2013
Recently I was invited to play in Robert Gamez’ Chipping for Children Celebrity Golf Pro-Am in Orlando. Robert (PGA Tour Player) and his Fiancée Denise began the Team Gamez Foundation in 2010 with the sole purpose of raising not only funds, but awareness for children struggling in Central Florida. Chipping For Children is the main fundraiser of the organization and was held on October 28th and 29th, 2012.
I met Robert a few years ago through our Loudmouth affiliation. What a super guy! Robert is a 3-Time PGA Tour winner and has been a big supporter of charitable causes. He has donated more than $1,000,000 to various children’s charities in Las Vegas and Orlando. The Team Gamez Foundation’s beneficiaries include: 4C, Special Olympics (Florida), Boys and Girls Club of Lake County and The Florida Department of Children and Families.
Robert tells us “Ensuring the education of a child is one of the most important things we can do as a community. 4C and The Boys and Girls Club offer both early childhood education education and a safe place for them to spend time after school with peers and mentors. Every year I get my friends together, we have some fun and it adds up to helping children become strong productive adults.”
Leaders of the Boys and Girls Club South Lake Unit are preparing for the new year with plans for new programs and $15,000 in grant money. The Gamez Foundation, an Orlando-based organization founded by golfer Robert Gamez, awarded the grant to the club to help promote education and healthy lifestyles.
"We feel very blessed that they found us and are helping us so significantly in our mission to provide for the kids of South Lake," said Mark Graff, a club board member. Freddy Williams, the club's newly instated chief executive, said the money will be used to help the club achieve its goals. This gives us the resources that are needed to put program materials and support in place to make sure our three priority outcomes come to fruition," Williams said. "We want our kids to be engaged with the community and graduate from high school with plans for the future. Our mission is to help that happen by making sure our programs are in accordance with that."
Foundation president Denise Cullen presented the check last month. She said she believed the foundation's goals were similar to the club's. "It's one thing to know where the money is going, but to get a chance to see who it is actually going to be effecting is nice," she said. In its third year, the club, which shares space with the First United Methodist Church in Clermont, provides afterschool care for children. Club director Tracy Jones said the local club uses programs supported by the Boys and Girls Club of America. The director is Tracy Jones and the programs taught to the children are part of the national programs as supported by Williams said the club relies on donations. "No money, no mission."
In the News January 2012
DCF sponsors Partners for Promise, goal is to help one family at a time. Imagine it is four days before Christmas and you’re living in a van with your four children with nowhere to go. That’s exactly what Orlando resident Nelda was facing this past year. When The Team Gamez Foundation found out about her, we went to work with the angels from Department of Children & Families (DCF) to make sure they didn’t go without. DCF PIO Carrie Hoeppner found the family an apartment and The Team Gamez Foundation went to work to make sure they had a Christmas.
“All the kids asked for were clothes”, said foundation president Denise Cullen. “We made sure they all receive new clothes and necessities along with some gift cards to some restaurants we knew would be open Christmas Day.”
The Team Gamez Foundation was formed to help children and their families in Central Florida cope with difficult times. Click and read the article.