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WOONSOCKET â€” When athletic director George Nasuti talks about â€śNovan Pride,â€ť heâ€™s referring to something that hopefully hits home for anyone whoâ€™s ever been touched by athletics in the Woonsocket School System.
In order to ensure that sports at the high school and middle schools continue to remain a part of the cityâ€™s fabric, Nasuti is sounding the gong for all alumni and area business folk to clear their calendars for Tuesday, May 29. On the docket is the first-ever all-encompassing fundraising effort geared to specifically benefit all Woonsocket public school sports from varsity and junior varsity down to the middle school level.
The recently reopened Ciroâ€™s Tavern on Cherry will serve as the site for what Nasuti hopes is a prime chance to help strengthen city athletics from purely a monetary standpoint. The donation is $40 per person and $75 a couple for an event that runs from 6-9 p.m.
The event began to evolve recently when Nasuti was conversing with School Committee member Chris Roberts, who mentioned this type of fundraising endeavor where the alumni are the main contributors. Specifically, Roberts noted that this is something that Mount St. Charles has done successfully.
Armed with this knowledge, Nasuti knew exactly where to turn.
Itâ€™s people like Matt Moyland who are being asked to pledge their support. Moyland played football at Woonsocket in the early 90s; at the time Nasuti was the head coach. To have that sort of school attachment and understanding of what it meant to wear a helmet with â€śWâ€ť emblazoned on the side, Moyland has turned out to be a worthy emissary in helping Nasuti generate some buzz regarding this project.
Moyland is the husband of Jill Moyland, who along with Gina Savini are the two ladies overseeing the operation at Ciroâ€™s. Late last month, Nasuti sat down with Jill and Gina to discuss the particulars of utilizing their establishment.
Later, a conversation was held between an ex-football head coach and his former player. Nasuti conveyed to Matt Moyland that if he could spread the word to graduates and acquaintances that Woonsocket is seeking to ensure that every sports program has a fighting chance to remain available, it would go a long way.
â€śWe ask very little from alumni; usually we ask the families whose kids are playing for contributions,â€ť Nasuti said Wednesday. â€śMatt and his circle of friends have put the word out there for me through social media.
â€śThis is kind of a call to all alumni to pitch in to some extent,â€ť emphasized Nasuti. â€śThey may have the means to help us out.â€ť
Asked to summarize the sales pitch he delivers in hopes of helping people realize the challenges of running an athletic department in cash-strapped Woonsocket, Nasuti answered, â€śWe currently run an athletic budget on the minimal amount of money that the school department can afford. Although weâ€™re making due, weâ€™re finding that itâ€™s getting harder and harder.â€ť
Nasuti then mentioned some of the expenses such as facilities, uniforms and equipment, some of which are badly out of date and crying out for the kind of improvement that can only happen through the kindness of generous souls.
â€śAs local citizens and alumni, itâ€™s our duty to help,â€ť he said. â€śIt would be nice to get a large amount of money, but whatever we get, we can turn it back into the program to maintain at least what we have.â€ť
Perhaps more than anything, Nasuti wants members from Woonsocketâ€™s past to turn out at Ciroâ€™s to mingle with representatives of todayâ€™s student-athlete. After all, they represent the target demographic.
â€śWhen you see a real athletic program, everyone is involved,â€ť Nasuti stated. â€śItâ€™s just not the kids who are playing and the coaches. Itâ€™s a community endeavor.â€ť
Generally, individual teams at Woonsocket have taken it upon themselves to hold fundraisers such as car washes and book drives. The money procured would go directly to fit the needs of the specific team with some teams doing a better job of raising money than others.
In an effort to make sure everyone is pulling in the same direction, Nasuti met with the bulk of his coaching staff. â€śI told them I need to have one major fundraiser a year to build a kitty, a perpetual fund that can support the entire program.â€ť
Nasuti made it clear the role he expects his coaches to play.
â€śIâ€™ve asked every coach in the system to purchase or sell a minimum of two tickets apiece,â€ť he noted. â€śIâ€™m asking them to promote this by being the main voice.â€ť
â€śWe just want to get the enthusiasm going,â€ť Nasuti noted, adding that he hopes this type of fundraiser becomes a yearly staple. â€śIf itâ€™s not in the forefront, people tend to forget about it.â€ť
Returns have been slow in coming with Nasuti hopeful that things begin to pick up next week.
â€śIâ€™m just hoping that people show up and offer their support,â€ť he said.
The Woonsocket Athletic Department and Ciroâ€™s Tavern have teamed up to host a wine and food pairing bringing you a taste of local fare and wines from the chefs of Hampton Court. In addition the evening will include various raffles. Among the items include Red Sox tickets, golf outings and tickets to Block Island donated by radio station WNRI.
Tickets may be purchased from Nasuti directly, a member of Woonsocket Highâ€™s coaching staff or at Ciroâ€™s Tavern. For further event information, contact Nasuti at (401) 767-4754 or firstname.lastname@example.org.