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Tots and Youngfellows

One of the reasons I like Rotary is its civic good works are both global and local. One week we can be raising funds for a school in Ghana and the next week we are raising funds for a local project.

One such endeavor is the $250,000 “re-imagining” of the nearly half-century-old Rotary Tot Lot in the City of Grosse Pointe to make it a more ADA/ADHD friendly, all-inclusive play park and learning development environment for kids 2 to 10 years of age. 

In 1973, Grosse Pointe Rotary designed and installed the initial tot lot play park for children 2 to 5 years of age at the corner of St. Clair and Waterloo. 

Then in 1997-98, the club performed a true makeover of the original park and invested significantly in park improvements. These changes are necessary because kids today are spending less time outside playing than they did 20 years ago.
New play equipment will include playscapes for 2- to 5-year-olds and 5- to 10-year-olds. Freestanding items include a Discover Cave, Merry-Go-All, wheelchair-accessible picnic table and sandbox and swing set with parent-child facing swings.

I encourage everyone to contribute to this worthy project. As of Aug. 26, we had already reached half our goal of $250,000. All the play equipment has been underwritten by generous Grosse Pointers, organizations and foundations. A large bulk of the funds remaining to be raised will go towards the new Poured in Place surface that will protect tots from injury should they fall. Proper surface and underlayment preparation is critical so the protective surface can last for another 30 years.

Donors can access Grosse Pointe Rotary’s GoFundMe page online at or by smartphone via the QR code displayed on Tot Lot capital campaign printed materials and posters at local merchants and dining establishments and on banners at the Tot Lot and throughout our communities.

I hope you have enjoyed your summer and are looking forward to the school year and business getting back to normal. As always, be sure to patronize our many loyal advertisers and businesses without whom Pointe Magazine — and the Grosse Pointe News — would not be possible. Be sure to tell them we sent you!

— John

Just over six years ago, John and I were approached by the Old Newsboys’ Goodfellow Fund of Detroit about writing an Arcadia Publishing book in celebration of the organization’s 100th anniversary the following year. We’d co-authored a similar history of the Michigan State Fair and were excited about the prospect of working with the Old Newsboys to pen another. 

Naturally, we looked into becoming members of the organization that strives to ensure “no kiddie without a Christmas.” At the time, I was in my 20s. The minimum age to become a Goodfellow is 30. It seemed funny to be tasked with writing the history of the Goodfellows but unable to join them (though they kindly made an exception for me). 

The thing is, the organization was founded by true old newsboys, men who had, in their youth, hawked newspapers and again took up the duty to raise money for the underprivileged children of Detroit. Over time, the Old Newsboys expanded to include old newsgirls. And as of this July, will include those under 30.

Jeshua Yglesias, a Grosse Pointe Farms resident and South graduate came up with the idea. He, like countless other under-30s I saw at Goodfellows’ volunteer events, had been raised with the group and contributed in various, helpful ways since before he could remember. Like me, he wondered at the lack of options for those under 30, while others in the group were concerned with where the next generation of members would come from. Enter, Youngfellows.

The youth group, for ages 18 to 29, has lower membership dues, a 10-hour volunteer minimum and ushers in the next generation of Goodfellows. It’s an exciting development for Old Newsboys and I’m happy to see the important Fund bringing younger folks into the fold.

For more details about Youngfellows, check out page 96. I hope a reader or two will think about joining. I would have loved to!

— Lauren


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