What is this nonprofit organization called E.R.I.C?
What does it do?
Why did you join it?
If I donate, where does the money go?
I have heard these questions a lot over my time working with E.R.I.C, and I thought to write an article to explain the answers.
Let’s begin with how it began.
E.R.I.C, like many a nonprofit, was founded out of love. Love between a father and his son. I may not completely comprehend that type of love because my father was an alcoholic pilot who chose booze over Beau and flew out of my life when I was but a pipsqueak. But I do comprehend love, and I can tell you good things happen when love is prominently involved. Anyway, the loving father listed above is Jim Gerencser, and his son, Eric. Everything was fine until cancer crept into Eric’s life. However, due to early recognition of cancer symptoms, young Eric was able to defeat the disease twice and has since grown into a young man.
Jim is a smart person, and upon seeing the benefits of recognizing cancer symptoms early, he decided to start a non-profit called E.R.I.C: Early Recognition Is Critical. Because of his close ties with the ultimate community Jim wanted to have ultimate be the vessel for his message. The combination was perfect, and the E.R.I.C organization was created.
Why did I join E.R.I.C? Cancer has caused more pain to those I love than anything else and there is not really a close second. When I got the call from big Jim I saw it as an opportunity to step up and actually fight against something everyone hated.
So what does E.R.I.C do? At it’s conception I will admit it was a little unclear what exactly the organization would do. Now, after a couple years, I think we have finally nailed down three clear objectives: Get kids active, get them aware, and get them prepared.
1) Get kids active
E.R.I.C is going to do this by spreading our sport. I love ultimate, but more importantly, I want kids to play any sport. Roughly 60 percent of me is a good person, and this good part was definitely shaped by me playing sports as a kid. Sports teach kids respect, teamwork, what it is to be human, and how to handle failure and deal with success. Not to mention the many benefits that come from being healthy. Although I don’t care what sport kids play as long as they’re active, I truly do believe ultimate is a sport worth spreading. It’s easy to learn, easy to play, burns lots of calories, does not cause concussions, and has a wonderful thing called spirit of the game. Sportsmanship is disappearing faster than water in California. We have a chance to spread a sport that has it interwoven within the very rules and fabric of the game.
2) Get kids aware
E.R.I.C is going to spread body awareness and cancer symptoms. Recognizing cancer early is a huge advantage. Speaking up and telling someone something is wrong is hard for lots of people including me so I know it must be hard for kids. E.R.I.C wants to let kids know that both listening to yourself and talking to someone else is a wonderful thing to do.
3) Get kids prepared
E.R.I.C is going spread the message of resilience. It has been proven time and time again that a huge part of any fight is mental. We want kids to know that cancer can be defeated and that they will not be alone when doing so.
Like any non-profit, E.R.I.C relies on donations. If you give a dollar, what is that dollar going to do? After consulting a few non-profts, this is how E.R.I.C has decided to spend their donations:
75% will go to the three objectives listed above. This will include:
- Sending out starter kits to schools that contain discs and info about ultimate frisbee and E.R.I.C.
- Paying two ultimate coaches to spend a day at the school.
- Providing whatever resources the schools needs to continue playing ultimate, some schools need a lot of help.
- Providing any help with anything concerning cancer.
15% will go to fundraising, a necessary part of all nonprofits.
10% will go to administration: the people doing all the work behind the scenes.
I believe our sport is perfect for kids. I believe educating kids about cancer is a vital first step in defeating cancer. I believe E.R.I.C will accomplish this. If you agree with any of this please consider donating or reaching out to E.R.I.C and see how you can be involved. Thank you.
Find more out about E.R.I.C. on their website, earlyrecognitioniscritical.org, and stop by their booth at the Club Championships to learn more.