The fifth annual event will support seven local nonprofits ◆ By Mike Hiles
When golf balls are set on tees at the fifth annual Soboba Foundation & Soboba Casino Charity Golf Tournament on April 7, players will be swinging their clubs for several great causes. Each year, the Soboba Foundation accepts and reviews applications from local nonprofits and chooses a handful that will receive $10,000 each for a proposed pet project or program.
"When submitting applications, those organizations that really put in the time and effort by adding additional information or pictures for that ‘wow factor' made themselves more memorable and compelling," foundation president Sally Ortiz said.
This year's recipients are Boxing for Christ, Community Pantry, EXCEED, Friends of Valley-Wide Foundation, San Jacinto Unified School District, Valley Queens Scholarship Foundation and V.I.P. Tots.
Making dreams become reality is something the Soboba Foundation has been doing for many years through its successful sponsorship programs. Each holiday season, members work closely with the Soboba Casino to collect and distribute thousands of toys to needy children throughout the community.
At the start of the new year, the Foundation's attention turns to its charity golf tournament. More than 30 organizations submitted applications to be considered. Board members agreed that all were impressive but seven really stood out and were chosen to be the recipients at this year's event.
"The hardest part is researching the organization and learning more about it," Ortiz said. "They are all more than deserving."
Geneva Mojado serves as vice president for the foundation and said the biggest reward for her and other members is watching the reaction of the groups when they find out they have been chosen.
The public is invited to enter the raffle and live auction and can also sign up to play, while spaces are still available. There will be a "pre-shopping experience" the night before the tournament so everyone can choose their favorite items to be ready to bid on while pre-registering for the tournament.
The grand prize entertainment package, valued at more than $5,000, includes a 75-in flat screen television and Sonos speaker system.
One of the most unique auction items is a Cahuilla coiled basket bowl being hand made by Steven Estrada, chairman of the Santa Rosa Band of Cahuilla Indians and Environmental Director at Soboba. The whirlwind design with butterflies is made from natural juncus, dyed juncus and sumac for design elements on a deer grass foundation. When completed, the basket will be encased for display.
Boxing for Christ, also known as Another Better Chance Inc., is seeking funds to allow youth in their program to be able to compete at USA amateur boxing events. Sonia Ramos said her organization helps boys and girls of all ages build self-esteem and confidence through learning skills that might get them to the Olympics one day.
Jim Lineberger lives the mission for the Community Pantry by helping to ease human suffering by providing emergency food, housing and other vital services. But there isn't always enough to go around so the Foundation's help will be so welcomed.
"We continue to have an increase of families, seniors and single mothers registering for assistance," he said. "We are seeing more seniors becoming homeless."
EXCEED provides service and advocacy for adults with developmental disabilities to help them reach their maximum potential. To this end, they are seeking technology upgrades at their Adult Developmental Center and Work Activity Center at its Hemet facility, which will allow case managers and all support staff to spend more time directly with clients.
The Friends of Valley-Wide Foundation is requesting help to continue its youth scholarship program. On average, the organization awards about 500 scholarships per year, which amounts to as much as $25,000 annually.
San Jacinto Unified School District Students United for Change is a program that will be implemented now that the district has been included to receive funding from Soboba Foundation.
"The project is a high school student-led movement aimed at creating a compassionate climate, free of fear, where every student feels connected and knows they belong," SJUSD superintendent Diane Perez said. "This will be kicked off through a student-created video and implementation of Challenge Day."
The Valley Queens Scholarship Foundation will host the San Jacinto Valley Youthfest 2017 with funds from the charity golf tournament. The event will showcase youth-oriented businesses and services in the San Jacinto Valley.
V.I.P. Tots is known for its engaging, inclusive environment where young children learn and adults have access to positive solutions for supporting children. It serves children from birth through age six, with and without special needs, through its in-home program and center based settings. Thanks to the Soboba Foundation, the school will be able to upgrade its playground equipment to include items that will promote early learning activities in the fields of math and science.
"The improvements will help bring the curriculum from inside the classroom to outside," Executive Director Karen Calvillo said. "Studies have demonstrated that preschools that use outdoor classrooms and other forms of nature-based experiential education support significant student gains in social studies, science, language arts and math."
There will be more than 100 volunteers, many from the chosen nonprofits, assisting 44 teams and more than 175 players as they spend the day on the greens at the beautiful Country Club at Soboba Springs.
There are several participation opportunities available by contacting Andrew Vallejos at 951-654-2765, ext. 4112 or by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org.