Many sports stars have foundations and will typically make an appearance here and there for a photo op to show that they’re doing the right thing, even though it sometimes doesn’t come off as something truly close to their hearts. For Mike Modano, doing the right thing and helping kids is a passion and a way of life. When he arrived at City House in Plano to present a $15,000 check from his foundation, he had no entourage of publicists, hangers-on or yes-men. With the exception of ScoreBoard (our publisher is on the Mike Modano Foundation Board), there wasn’t a media presence. Modano wanted to take his time and tour the facility, meet the staff and listen to their stories. It’s a good thing, too: City House is just not set up for that kind of fanfare. The house is just that – a large but very comfortable house that provides emergency shelter for children and young adults that are affected by abuse, neglect and homelessness. Most are children that are in school and come to City House for a good place to call home when they don’t have one otherwise.
With the help of individual donors, foundations, grants and a supportive volunteer group of well over one thousand people in Collin County that includes good people from United Way and many area churches, City House provides for up to 36 kids at a time, with 24 beds for newborns to kids up to age 17 and six beds each for transitional teen boys and girls 18-21. “In an ideal world, there wouldn’t be a need for this place”, says Lisa Rogers, the Director of Volunteer Services. “However, what we can do is to provide a place where we can keep some family units together and let them know they deserve better.” Most kids stay an average of 45 days, but others need more time, which is perfectly understandable to those involved. “Our kids get a lot of individual attention they probably wouldn’t get otherwise”, explains Theresa Keenan, the Executive Director. In addition to food and shelter, there are movies, games and a yard to play in – and plenty of time to share with new friends.
Walking through City House, Modano immediately got it. “I just love it”, he said. “It’s rare when you see a volunteer situation like that when people are so dedicated. There’s a lot of love. The people running it have big hearts and I love the fact that they have an opportunity to help these homeless kids out and give them everything they need that they’re not getting from their immediate families.” After letting everything he saw soak in, he adds, “It’s heartbreaking, but those are the kind of things you see that you know make a difference.”
Making a difference is exactly the reason why he started the Mike Modano Foundation. He explains, “I was taken by kids that, in some parts of town, didn’t have it so good and I felt like that was an area where I could make an impact and enjoy helping them out. When you can see the impact you’ve made on the kids, it makes it all worthwhile. It’s very rewarding to see kids have an opportunity.” City House recognizes the importance of having Modano there and they definitely appreciate the fact that he can help. Rogers says, “Having someone like Mike come out helps more people know about us to know that we exist. Some people in Collin County don’t want to know there’s a problem but when someone like Mike Modano comes out and says there is, it helps.”
City House recognizes that there are around 1100 homeless cases in Collin County at any time and with 40% of them coming through the foster care program, they have their work cut out for them to build a more solid foundation for children and teens in need. With the power of about 60,000 volunteer hours a month to help kids have a home base, build self-esteem, give them the resources to get out of a bad situation and get back on their feet, it’s nice to know that there are plenty of people like Rogers, Keenan and Modano that are there for some very special kids when others are not.
For more info on City House or to find out how you can help, visit www.cityhouse.org