Making a Difference

Sacramento Region, CA  |  Story and photos by Shaunna Boyd
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Keynote speaker Phil Oates (bottom left), Stanford defensive linemen Jovan Swahn (left) and Michael Williams (right), and Playmakers founder Greg Roeszler (second from right) honored the players for their service.

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Phil Oates, part-owner of the Sacramento Kings, introduced Playmaker participants Jeremy and Clarissa to Stanford defensive linemen Jovan Swahn (second from left) and Michael Williams (right).

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - The Playmakers Organization is a local non-profit that coaches character through leadership and provides free programs to underprivileged and at-risk youth. Playmakers hosted their 10th annual fundraising dinner on Saturday, April 27 at Divine Savior Church in Orangevale.

The evening’s festivities included live and silent auctions to raise money for the organization. Proceeds from the event will fund Playmakers’ free six-week all-day Summer Character Academy. Playmakers founder Greg “Coach Roz” Roeszler said, “We seek out the kids whose families cannot afford any kind of summer enrichment, so it is extremely important we have funding for our trained coaches and volunteers.”

The Summer Character Academy will serve at least 100 kids, teaching them teamwork and improving their self-confidence.

Phil Oates, part-owner of the Sacramento Kings, was the keynote speaker of the event. Oates explained that the most important part of coaching is character development. He said, “Coaches sacrifice for their teams and always put the kids first.”

“Playmakers are making a difference for kids,” said Oates. “They are very fiscally responsible with the contributions they receive.… They’ll make you proud.”

The dinner was donated by Chicago Fire and was served by players from the Rio Americano and El Camino football teams. The teams are working together as part of a unique reconciliation effort after a brawl last season forced them to forfeit the final game.

The fundraiser’s title sponsor was Fitguard president Ryan Meier. Playmakers’ sponsor Harrison Phillips of the Buffalo Bills was honored at the event, and Stanford defensive linemen Michael Williams and Jovan Swahn attended as honored guests.

Thanks to many generous donations, Playmakers raised more than $30,000 to fund their Summer Character Academy. The largest donations came from the Country Club Optimists and the Azevedo Foundation.

Coach Roz thanked Playmakers civic group participants — Rotary, Optimists, and Lions — and all of the donors and volunteers for making it possible to help so many kids in the region. “Sometimes kids need extra attention. It’s about investing time,” said Coach Roz. “That’s what we do at Playmakers. That’s what we do as coaches. We never give up on the kids.”

Keynote speaker Phil Oates (bottom left), Stanford defensive linemen Jovan Swahn (left) and Michael Williams (right), and Playmakers founder Greg Roeszler (second from right) honored the players for their service. Phil Oates, part-owner of the Sacramento Kings, introduced Playmaker participants Jeremy and Clarissa to Stanford defensive linemen Jovan Swahn (second from left) and Michael Williams (right).Eric Schnetz (left), founder of Chicago Fire, donated the meal for Coach Roz’s (right) Playmakers fundraising dinner.