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Current Events

Once a month we hold an event for a family/person in need. We also conduct other exciting projects. Here is where you can find information about how you can get involved and upcoming events.

 

Weaving a Web of Healing for Maddie Lane

Posted by on Aug 8, 2016 in Current Events, Families In Need, Helping Families | 0 comments

Weaving a Web of Healing for Maddie Lane

Ten year-old Maddie Lane Demers loves Spiderman and the color purple. Until a few months ago, her world revolved around cheerleading with her pals from the Renegades, enjoying time with her family and friends, and loving Spiderman and purple. Then a diagnosis of a very rare form of bone cancer changed everything for Maddie Lane and her family. Now it’s traveling back and forth to Cleveland Clinic and a regimen of needles, blood tests, and treatments to battle multicentric osteogenic sarcoma and tumors trying to take over her tiny body. In addition to altering everything Maddie and her family knew as normal, this insidious disease is taking a huge toll financially for the family, and they need some love and support from the community. On Wednesday, August 24th, the Van Duzer Foundation will host an evening of fun and family to support Maddie Lane and her family at Big Apple Pizza in Fort Pierce at 2311 South 35th Street, directly across from Indian River State College. The fun will begin at 4 p.m. and go until 10 p.m., and there will be bounce houses, music courtesy of Traxx Entertainment, laughter, and loads of fun and support for Maddie Lane and this family enduring a difficult time. Maddie’s friends from the Renegades Cheer Team will be on hand providing personalized cheers for donors and the cheerleaders and football team will host a bake sale to help raise funds for the treatments to battle Maddie’s illness. And the awesome staff from Relentless Salon will be providing clipper cuts, bangs trimming and braiding to help Maddie and her family, too. As always with a Van Duzer Foundation fundraiser, one hundred percent of all food and beverages sold will be given to the family, and everyone working on the evening of a fundraiser donates salary, tips, and time for an all-volunteer evening to show the power of community support. You’re going to be hungry that night anyway – why not make your meal count for something special and show a little love and support for a family in...

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Hometown Hero Takes the First Step

Posted by on Jun 6, 2016 in Current Events, Press Room, Special Events | 0 comments

Hometown Hero Takes the First Step

Jacksonville native Samuel Barrington has decided to take the First Step. Long known for his prowess on the field and his philanthropic efforts off it, the much-acclaimed linebacker for the Green Bay Packers who most-recently received the Pop Warner 2016 Humanitarian Award, is teaming up with a small, but mighty group of volunteers and community leaders in implementing a program that invites everyone in the community to take the First Step in creating a better, stronger, and more cohesive community. And you can join the fun and take the First Step, too, on Saturday, June 11th, at 1 p.m., at Justina Road Elementary School Park. State Representative Mia L. Jones will join Barrington, State Representative Larry Lee, Junior, St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara, Christina Phillips president of Precision Sports Management Group and a few surprise guests for a free afternoon filled with fun, games, and community-building. The First Step program had a humble start last year a couple hundred miles south of Jacksonville in Fort Pierce, Florida. In an effort to create a safer community in Garden Terrace, an area of Fort Pierce once known as “Little Vietnam” because of the violence, Scott Van Duzer, a pizza shop owner widely-publicized for bear-hugging President Barack Obama and St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara started visiting the Garden Terrace every Tuesday afternoon. The pair brought a football, a few friends, and a few pizzas. They asked for nothing except some company on the long-neglected playground. Before long, the pair had been joined by dozens of kids of all ages from the community and other community members who also wanted to take the First Step towards a stronger community. Click Here To Read...

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Half A Hundred Party

Posted by on May 12, 2016 in Current Events, Special Events | 0 comments

Half A Hundred Party

Yes, it’s true! Scott Van Duzer is turning half a hundred! The Van Duzer Foudation is throwing a Half a Hundred Party! Read details below!

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Miami Dolphin Michael Thomas Named Week 7 NFLPA Community MVP

Posted by on Oct 23, 2015 in Current Events, Families In Need, Helping Families, Press Room, Projects | 0 comments

Miami Dolphin Michael Thomas Named Week 7 NFLPA Community MVP

The NFL safety leads “The First Step” initiative mentoring youth in underserved Florida neighborhoods Editor’s Note: The NFLPA Community MVP recognizes players who are making a positive impact in their local communities. Each week, the NFLPA will celebrate one player who recently demonstrated his commitment to giving back and will make a donation to the player’s foundation or cause in support. This week’s #CommunityMVP is Miami Dolphin Michael Thomas who is demonstrating leadership by speaking to at-risk youth of underprivileged communities. October 20, 2015 has a new meaning for Michael Thomas of the Miami Dolphins. The Mayor of Fort Pierce, Florida proclaimed the Tuesday to be Michael Thomas Day and presented the 26-year-old safety with an honorary Key to the City. The pomp and circumstance celebrated something Thomas is innately passionate about – mentorship. Though he has no previous ties to the Fort Pierce community, he drove for more than two hours to be a key figure in a new program that is focused on providing positive role models to local youth. “My favorite part of receiving the key was that the commissioners had the kids present to me. This really helped show the children that they are a part of this,” Thomas said. The day included two-touch football, pizza and, most importantly for Thomas, a lot of time to connect directly with the young attendees. “The most memorable part was answering their questions. Their questions are so raw and innocent, and it shows that what they hear as a young person actually has a major impact on painting their future,” Thomas said. Though he grew up more than 1,000 miles away in Houston, he said it was very easy to relate to the kids. “The questions they asked brought me back to my own childhood,” he said. “Playing ball with them in the park was just like playing one of the backyard games that I did in my youth.” The First Step, founded by community philanthropist Scott Van Duzer and the Van Duzer Foundation, focuses on making genuine, lasting connections with kids who are faced with the disadvantages of growing up in neighborhoods characterized by “anger, violence and bad influences.” It hopes to achieve this by challenging community leaders to get together with youth in a Fort Pierce park for one hour each Tuesday. “When Scott Van Duzer and the Van Duzer Foundation reached out to me, I was all for it,” Thomas said. “We want these youth to leave the First Step program with bigger dreams and to accomplish something great!” Thomas graduated from Stanford University with honors and a degree in sociology. He is quick to acknowledge that he was able to succeed at such a high academic and athletic level because of mentorship that he benefited from during his upbringing in Texas. “It’s important to me to try to inspire kids and offer resources and experiences that they wouldn’t otherwise have,” Thomas said. “Many of us in the NFL have had moments as a child where someone – a coach, teacher or mentor – took time to believe in us. My desire is that, by getting involved, I am helping change a kid’s life.” Making Strides with Selfless Service While this was Thomas’ first time with the initiative in St. Lucie County, when he isn’t...

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Breaking Down Barriers, One Commissioner at a Time

Posted by on Oct 22, 2015 in Current Events, Press Room, Projects, Special Events | 0 comments

Breaking Down Barriers, One Commissioner at a Time

Antonio Avriett (left), a member of the Boys & Girls Club, gets a high-five from St. Lucie County Commissioner Chris Dzadovsky while playing touch football Tuesday afternoon during The First Step in Fort Pierce. Members of the commission, Fort Pierce City Commission and Police Department, as well last the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office, were on hand during a visit by Miami Dolphins safety Michael Thomas. (SAM WOLFE/TREASURE COAST NEWSPAPERS) The look on Sheriff Ken Mascara’s face said it all. Beaming from ear to ear, the sheriff was gang-tackled by a gaggle of four small kids, each grabbing at his legs, during an impromptu game of touch football Wednesday in northwest Fort Pierce. Credits: Article from...

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