Charity spotlight: Champions Committed to Kids

Tristan Jones traveled with the Drury Panthers all the way through the NCAA Division II Tournament.
Tristan Jones traveled with the Drury Panthers all the way through the 2013 NCAA Division II Tournament.

He’s one of those teens you pull for. A kid with a love for basketball. A good teammate who stands, cheers and loves to work the crowd.

So let’s give a standing O to Tristan Jones, a Marshfield 16-year-old with Down syndrome. He marked an item off his so-called bucket list by being welcomed to the Drury University men’s basketball program in 2013.

That’s right, he got seat with the team during games, attended practices, and hung with one of the best NCAA Division II basketball teams in the country. All thanks to a non-profit called Champions Committed to Kids.

“For me and my husband, it’s meant a lot,” mom April Jones said. “We never could have dreamed Tristan would have the opportunity to do this.”

Now the Ozarks community can help Tristan and more kids from ages 5 to 18 realize their dreams. Champions Committed to Kids has teamed up again with the Price Cutter Charity Championship presented by Dr Pepper, a PGA Web.com Tour stop in August in Springfield.

The tournament has gifted almost $14 million to charities in its 27-year history.

About Champions Committed to Kids

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Tristan is just one example of the great work done by Champions Committed to Kids, founded in 2010 by Jeff Collins.

During the Missouri Winter Games a few years ago, Collins kicked around the idea of a sports-themed organization whose mission would be to provide kids fighting a serious illness and/or disability the opportunity to be a part of a high school, college, university or professional team while building lifelong friendships with their coaches and teammates. As a result, these kids often forget about their daily challenges while focusing on the game and the excitement of a sports atmosphere.

The non-profit now places Ozarks-area kids with teams at Missouri State, Drury, Evangel, Baptist Bible College, and nearly every high school across the area, plus the Springfield Cardinals.

This is the sixth year Champions Committed to Kids has been involved with the Price Cutter tournament. Its funding goes toward covering game concessions for the families and gas money.

Tristan Jones, center, became an honorary member of the Drury Panthers basketball team this past winter.
Tristan Jones, center, became an honorary member of the Drury Panthers basketball team.

Typically it’s a two-year relationship between child and team, although the bonds formed between players and the kids last a lifetime.

“Coaches have told me how much it means to their team members,” Collins said. “As I’ve told the athletes, you have a chance to influence a young person’s life in the community.”

He went on.

“What’s so special is that the child and the team have a bond,” Collins said. “They’ve gotten so close to these families that they invite them to (family events). One of the girl athletes at Drury flew in to Disneyworld to help out at a fundraiser for muscular dystrophy.”

For the Jones family, the non-profit has been a blessing. Tristan’s mother says, “It’s been amazing–a reminder of all that is great about sports. Tristan has come a long way. He’s always been very social. And now the guys think of him as a teammate.”

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HELP CHAMPIONS COMMITTED TO KIDS

Championship Committed to Kids, a non-profit that places local kids with special needs with their favorite college or high school team, can be reached at 417-886-KIDS (5437).

CORPORATE SKYBOXES on the 9th and 18th greens, and tents on the 18th fairway

These include covered seating and all-inclusive badges into the Jackson Brothers of the South VIP Tent (food and beverages).

Watch from the "front fow" on the 18th green
Watch from the “front fow” on the 18th green

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PRO-AMS: Play with a pro & enjoy top courses such as Highland Springs, Buffalo Ridge Golf Course, LedgeStone Country Club, Millwood Golf & Racquet Club & Fremont Hills Country Club. Includes a great golfer gift package, continental breakfast, lunch, on-course beverages, team photos & trophies. Check out our list of golf experiences

The Chris Hamon-led White River Valley Foundation team came decked out in camo rain gear in 2016.
The Chris Hamon-led White River Valley Foundation team came decked out in camo rain gear to the 2016 Price Cutter Pro-Am.

ON-COURSE SPONSORSHIPS

Bleachers, water coolers and much more can help generate interest in your business, and will go a long way toward helping kids in the Ozarks. See our full menu of options.

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HONORING OUR HEROES PROGRAM

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A great way to support military, law enforcement and first responders as well Ozarks children’s charities — as they receive free admission as well as food and drinks thanks to your sponsorships. Follow this link

$25 TLC PROPERTIES SWEEPSTAKES TICKETS

They are only $25 each, and gives the ticket-buyer a chance to win a 2017 Ford F-150, or $10,000, plus daily prizes during the tournament. Check out the details here.

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GOLF BALL & CHARITY AUCTION

Sponsored by Copy Products Inc. and University Plaza, this event is on Tuesday, August 8 at University Plaza Convention Center. We’ll also have electronic bidding at bidpal.net! Register at this link.

THE ULTIMATE presented by Custom Metalcraft & Ridewell Suspensions

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Win a 2017 Corvette Stingray, as a $1,200 buy-in guarantees a 1-in-100 chance of winning the car and a 1-in-10 chance of winning $1,000. You’ll also receive many other perks, including air-conditioned seating on the 18th green during the PCCC along with clubhouse parking, a luxurious dinner on Friday, August 4 at Highland Springs Country Club as well as breakfast and lunch in the clubhouse daily during the PCCC, plus his and her shirts.

FOR ANY SPONSORSHIP, CALL 417-887-3400