COTTAGE GROVE, Ore. — Cottage Grove High School junior Oscar Rauda is a star on his football team, running in touchdowns and making the big plays.
“Football’s my favorite,” said Rauda. “[I play] running back and slot receiver. On the defense, I play outside linebacker.”
Flash back more than 10 years ago, though, and Oscar’s future didn’t look quite so bright. He had speech problems that kept him sidelined. He became shy and withdrawn until his mother brought him to the Family Relief Nursery.
“It made a lot of impact because they helped me a lot with my speech,” Rauda recalled. “I was shy and after [Family Relief Nursery], I wasn’t as shy. If you ask the teachers now, I’m not shy now. I talk all the time.
“His teacher says, ‘We can’t get him to stop talking,'” said Heather Murphy, the nursery’s executive director. “Just hearing that, that’s fantastic for a shy little boy with speech issues. They were pretty extensive. He has really come out of that. Now he has track records on the board at the junior high, he’s one of our first scorers for our football team this year. Everyone knows Oscar everywhere you go, so that’s fantastic.”
Staff gave Rauda the boost he needed, the self-confidence to be in the spotlight. Now he’s giving back.
“A couple years ago, they made a new building here and they asked me to cut the ribbon,” the high school junior said. “I was really excited to cut the ribbon because I was part of this program. It’s just a great feeling. Knowing they helped me, I want to help them back.”
Rauda is far from the only child helped by the Family Relief Nursery over the years; there have been thousands. The Great Rotary Duck Race ensures there will be more.
“The Duck Race alone has funded 50 children for a year in this program,” said Murphy “If you look at that long term and you’re looking at kids Oscar’s age, generationally, that’s an incredible impact.”
You can buy a ticket for the Duck Race by clicking here.