LAKE ORION, Mich. (WXYZ) — “Dad was very young when he passed, he was 45 a younger man than I am now and he was killed in an attempted carjacking downtown,” said Norman Yatooma.
The tears are still there and so is the sting. As Norman Yatooma recalls that day his father lost his life to gun violence 28 years ago.
“You lose what feels like everything. It’s a father, a mentor, provider protector,” said Yatooma.
But his pain laid the pathway for a brighter future for thousands of Detroit area children who unfortunately share the same feeling.
“After he passed, we took a lot of steps backwards. Finally coming out of that with newfound perspective,” said Yatooma. “And to be able to do in his name and memory and now there’s all these kids these beautiful kids throughout the community who have lost mom or dad or both who are able to receive very practical, immediate assistance after they've gone through an unimaginable life changing loss.”
And now, Yatooma's Foundation for The Kids has been a backbone for ailing families for 18 years.
Last year Covid curtailed some of the foundation's biggest fundraisers. But this year, they were able to get back into the swing of things with an overwhelming show of support at this annual golf outing at Indianwood Golf and Country Club in Lake Orion.
“Like an airline we over sold it. We sold 38 foursomes. Had a few guys donate them back so some of our 1st responder's could enjoy a day of golf,” said Yatooma.
Everyone who attended got to enjoy the spectacular sound of the Detroit Youth Choir.
Especially this special voice, near and dear to Norman.
Gwendolyn is almost 15 years old now. But when she was 5 years old, her father was murdered leaving her mother and 5 siblings helpless. Until the Yatooma Foundation for Kids stepped in with hope.
“Now I look at them and I look at little Gwen living her best life singing dancing but between that time life to life. Mom Holly and I reminiscing. Good enough to remind my family of the role the foundation played,” said Yatooma.
“Lot of life, just so proud to be able to do in my father's name.”