Never quit. Ever, and no matter the odds. In essence, that’s the message from Tabby, a success story of an equine therapy farm called Dogwood Ranch.
In her middle school years, she bounced from one foster home to the next and, naturally, it became difficult to trust anyone. That is, until she met the folks who run the Christian County non-profit that tries to steer teens toward a better future.
And look where Tabby is today – working a great job with her sights set on a nursing a degree, which will provide a promising future for her two young children.
Which is another way of saying that the Price Cutter Charity Championship presented by Dr Pepper is proud to assist Dogwood Ranch, one of 43 charities in this year’s tournament. The PCCC has gifted almost $13 million to children’s charities in the past 26 years.
“It’s amazing how being around such a huge animal that it kind of makes you remember what trust is like,” Tabby said. “A lot of times when kids are in foster care, they go through so many parents that your sense of trust is extinguished. I never thought something that like would help me.”
About Dogwood Ranch
Brian Lopez and his bride, Dana, along with their parents, founded Dogwood Ranch in 2005 and launched it in 2007 after relocating from southern California to Ozark.
In fact, Dana left behind a great job at one of the top law firms in Los Angeles, while Brian pursued this dream of returning to familiar surroundings – after previously spending five years in the Branson area working for a non-profit.
“We have a real heart for troubled teens,” Lopez said. “And her parents always dreamed of helping kids who needed families as well. We were sitting around in California and one day said, ‘Let’s do this.’”
The idea is to provide long-term care to older youth in foster care who need a family to call their own. In addition, teens are encouraged to develop relationships with their peers, foster families, as well as the ranch’s horses. Building trust is key.
However, the assistance from Dogwood Ranch doesn’t end there. After the teens graduate from high school and transition on into the world, the ranch tries to provide funding for transitional needs such as an adequate vehicle, or vehicle repairs, furniture for apartments and other basic needs.
That’s where the PCCC’s donations come in.
“The goal is to make sure they get to and from work, and keep them working,” said Lopez, who along with Dana have adopted one teen and foster more than a dozen others.
For Tabby, Dogwood Ranch came into her life at an important time. The end result was that it inspired her to reach her potential and, in doing so, she found motivation to track down other siblings in the foster care system.
Ultimately, Tabby became a mom to two children and is now doing her best to make ends meet as a single mother. She has many aspirations and goals.
“I started in the foster care system when I was 5 years old and kind of bounced around from house to house before I met Brian and Dana,” Tabby said. “They pulled me aside and said, ‘Hey, we know foster homes are temporary. But it’s time for you to get comfortable.’ At that time it hit me. They started getting me involved in training with the horses.
“It showed me what real family life was like.”
“The Ranch, as a family, they have done extraordinary things for me – things that I wouldn’t have done otherwise.”
RISING STARS, RAISING HOPES
- BUSINESS SPONSORSHIPS: Businesses also can support the PCCC through various sponsorships, such as the skyboxes on the 9th and 18th greens (with food badges), on-course signage and events such as a dozen Pro-Ams. Businesses also can donate a gift card with at least a $25 value in the name of your charity of choice to benefit them in the Golf Ball & Charity Auction presented by Copy Products, Inc. and University Plaza.
- WIN A NEW TRUCK: The purchase of a $25 TLC Properties Charity Sweepstakes ticket can win one of 500 daily gift cards as well as grand prizes of $10,000 and a 2016 Ford F-150 XLT. It’s also good for a four-day tournament pass.
- SEE THE FUTURE OF THE PGA TOUR: The PCCC is from Aug. 5-15, with the pros beginning play on Aug. 11 at Highland Springs Country Club. For tickets or other ways to assist, call the Price Cutter Charity Championship staff at 417-887-3400.
- HELP DOGWOOD RANCH: A 501c-3 non-profit, Dogwood Ranch is a community of foster homes that uses equine therapy to help teens build back trust, and also helps cover expenses for basic necessities once teens go on in life. Call 417-393-3493.