DETROIT (WJBK) - The annual Clark Park winter carnival kicks off at noon Saturday, Feb. 16, in southwest Detroit.
It is a day of free family fun followed by a charity hockey game featuring FOX 2's M.L. Elrick and attorney Mike Rataj. And they're looking for your help to raise money for a special place that helps kids grow up the right way. Kids like Sergio Broughton.
For families with an eye on the future, Clark Park offers much more than just kids' hockey.
There's tutoring, computers, photography and lunches in the summer. You can meet great families and volunteers at Clark Park's Free Winter Carnival from 12 to 4 p.m. At 6:30 p.m. Rataj and Elrick will play in their annual outdoor hockey game. To learn more about the carnival go to Clark Park's Facebook page HERE.
There's still time to help reach the park's fundraising goals at patronicity.com/clarkpark2018
The staff and volunteers don't just develop skills, they develop young women and men - like Sergio.
"I have to call sometimes and say are you coming home now, 11 o'clock at night," said mother Donna Broughton. "He will finish skating, he'll help the little kids learn to skate, he helps Bob with the little kids skating, he refs sometimes, so he enjoys it all around."
Rataj, a defense attorney and Elrick have been putting on a charity hockey game at Clark Park for four years now and the one thing they can always count on finding at the rink is Sergio. Sergio was one of the stars of the first commercial we cut promoting the Clark Park Winter Carnival and our outdoor charity game.
We've since changed our website to Fox2Detroit.com and we've watch Sergio grow into a fine young man.
"When I was younger I loved playing, you know, passing the puck around and shooting," he said. "But as I've gotten older I got to watch other little kids grow up, too. So it's good to help them learn how to skate, learn how to play and enjoy their love of the game, too."
Sergio grew up six blocks from Clark Park. He dedicated himself to hockey embracing the work ethic, the commitment, and helping teach a friend the lessons about life he learned at Clark Park. Along the way, Sergio set his sights on attending Cass Tech, arguably Detroit's most prestigious public high school.
Now, he's enjoying his freshman year as a technician and he's already setting new goals for himself, wanting to study cardiology.
Sergio knows it will be a grind but he has watched loved ones struggle with heart troubles and he hopes to one-day ease his patients' suffering.
"You get to know them as well as their body and you get to help them and help them feel better," he said.
"He's more like an adult than he is a teenager, he's got a lot of self-confidence," said Larry Thompson, a friend of Clark Park. "Sergio turned into a fine young man. He'll be a great guy. He sure will."
Elrick: "Do you see a day where you could outgrow Clark Park?"
"Nope," he said. "I mean I saw while I was growing up there's kids my age. Now they're still here, they're in their 20s. Some are like older than me, like Ziggy. He's still coming here.
"It's like this is the park and it's just like you want to come back. And I think that's the feeling for everybody else, too."