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Center holds annual luncheon

John Tierney | Thursday, March 22, 2007

With former Notre Dame football star Mike Golic as its keynote speaker, the annual Nose-On Luncheon raised an estimated $70,000 Wednesday for the Logan Center, a developmental-disorder support organization in South Bend.

Organizers hoped the event, more than just a fundraiser, served as a way to increase awareness of developmental disorders in the community.

During his speech, Golic emphasized the importance of sports in the life of those who are helped by the Logan Center.

The Logan Center serves individuals with developmental disabilities in all stages of life. It also provides resources for individuals and their families and advocates for developmental disability awareness, but is not an institutional setting with caregivers.

Golic told the audience that the biggest smile that he ever wore – when he ran out of the tunnel as a Notre Dame football player – could not compare to the smiles he saw on Logan Center clients Wednesday morning at the “Breakfast of Champions,” at which sports enthusiasts had breakfast and talked to the ESPN personality.

The positive reaction of the Logan “Champions” at the breakfast reminded Golic that “sports are a good thing” and that they are capable of helping people feel happy about life, he said.

Golic said the most important thing for the public to remember is to remain aware of the efforts at the Logan Center.

“It’s a wonderful thing they’re doing and we can keep it going,” he said.

Like many support groups, the most important thing the Logan Center provides is hope, Logan CEO Dan Harshman said.

The Logan Center maintained a focus on community awareness in March, which is Disability Awareness Month. Next week the center will welcome hundreds of fifth graders to tour the facilities and see the equipment.

The trip is a reward for the students who sold green noses to fundraise for the Logan Center this month. Students from the Stanley Clark Elementary School, which sold the most noses of any area school, were invited to attend the luncheon Wednesday.

More than 600 community members volunteer at the Logan Center every year, and many of the helpers come from Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s, according to Ann Lagomarcino of the Logan Center.

Logan Center volunteers do a variety of work, ranging from serving as board members, working on committees, planning fundraisers and working directly with individuals.

In addition to volunteers, the Logan Center is always in need of monetary donations.

“It’s always a stretch for us,” Lagomarcino said of the center’s finances. “Government funding never meets our needs and we always struggle to reach more people.”