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Fathers, sons play in park for a fun-raiser
Games, music to entertain area residents
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Father’s Day Fun-raiser

When: 10 a.m. Saturday, June 14

Where: Laurel Park, 3100 Old Cleveland Highway, Gainesville

Cost: $10 for parking or $5 and two bags of clothing donations

More info: or 770-540-3170

Father’s Day is time to pause and appreciate dads everywhere, and Carry On Youth Inc. aims to do that Saturday with a Father’s Day Fun-raiser at Laurel Park in Gainesville.

“Come out with dad and celebrate the holiday,” said Nick Howard, founder of the nonprofit organization that helps youth who have lost a parent. “Rather than giving him a suit or pack of T-shirts, come out and enjoy some good, live bands and family activities.”

Games and activities will start at 10 a.m. Saturday and last throughout the day, including an engineering for kids class. Softball and kickball games will feature teams from local organizations such as the Hall County Sheriff’s Office, the Dawson County fire department and the Gainesville Police Department.

The event will take place at Laurel Park, at 3100 Old Cleveland Highway in Gainesville, which has a playground and splashground available for use.

Live music will be from 1-7 p.m. Local band Asphalt Cowboys will play along with The Big Pooch Band, Matt Wink and Mario Diaz.

Food choices range from barbecue to hotdogs and hamburgers. A cornhole board set and various coupons and gift cards will be raffled as well.

Carry On Youth was established in 2012 to provide mentoring services and recreational activities to children and their family members who have lost a parent or guardian. Howard founded the organization after he lost his father.

“(My dad) passed away when I was 19,” he said. “He taught me how (to) throw a baseball when I was kid, and I couldn’t help but to think how it would have been if he passed away earlier and I didn’t get to learn how to play baseball.

“When a death occurs with a friend or other family member, you go to the funeral and you’re sad, but you go back to your normal life in a few weeks. When it is your dad and you’re a kid, things are turned totally upside down.”

Oftentimes children in these situations receive minimal counseling and are left with long-term grief and few outlets, Howard said. The primary purpose of Saturday’s event is to raise awareness to help Carry On Youth reach underserved grieving children.

The fundraiser is also meant to take Father’s Day, which can be a negative time for those who have lost their dad, and turn it into something joyous.

“My dad missed my wedding and college graduation, and I can’t get that back,” Howard said. “But he would not have wanted me to live with anxiety or feeling sorry for myself.

“He would have wanted me to get out there and turn this stuff around.”

The group coordinates free recreational outings once a month for kids and their family members. Carry On Youth is also in the process of creating a memorial garden at the Linwood Nature Preserve in Gainesville, so participants can plant trees in honor of their lost loved ones.

Admission to Saturday’s event is free with a $10 parking fee or $5 and two bags of clothing donations. All proceeds will go toward Carry On Youth activities and the memory garden.

For more information or to make a donation visit or call 770-540-3170.

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