"We had an awesome summer!"
I have been reflecting back on all of our summer events and activities; it's been one heck of a ride! The preparation for Big B.A.N.G Weekend was a monster. But with the help of the sponsors, staff, board members, friends, Fresno State Athletics, alumni, celebrity guests, fans and my Bulldog brothers the weekend was a success!
Both the foster youth and over 400 community youth were able to partake and had some of their dreams come true! Watching over 400 kids participate in a well-organized, free football clinic at Bulldog Stadium, was a dream come true for me as well. My hat's off to all that took part in this 1st annual weekend! There were over 80 former NFL players, Division I football players and coaches who took the time out of their schedule to give back to the community. A big special thanks to Rob Golden of the Pittsburgh Steelers, who believed in the vision from day one. He truly cares about the well-being of kids and the community. KYJO salutes you! He even brought some of his NFL buddies along for the ride (Lance Briggs, Kelvin Beachum and Isaiah Green to name a few). Fans and kids were able to meet other NFL greats such as, Lorenzo Neal and Daryle Lamonica. I can't wait to do it again next year!
KYJO did not just sit back and rest, after Big B.A.N.G. we went right into the week-long Valley Teen Ranch/Keeping Youth Journeying Onward Olympics (VTR/KYJO). The momentum from Big B.A.N.G. carried us into the week. This being our 4th annual Olympics, it was by far the best ever! We even had to do war room style debate to pick the MVP's of the week-long games. Great job VTR/KYJO staff!
Still there is no sleep for the weary. We have had three residents graduate from the KYJO program. They have bright futures ahead of them. One resident, Rodolfo, was inspired to become a lawyer. He had the opportunity to have a sit down dinner with a federal defense attorney and picked his brain before he left. He was truly inspired after that. Another young man, that many didn't have hope for at first, changed his life around. He even decided not to go back to his hometown, just so he could stay on the path that he destined for himself while here at KYJO. The third resident was a young lady who came in thinking she knew everything, she changed her life around to step down to a lower level of care. For their graduation party we spent the day at the lake boating, jet skiing, tubing, swimming, and BBQ'n for their final hurrah before their big day came.
Kids, myself and the staff are so proud of all your accomplishments and we know you all will be successful from here on out! Great job!!!
Here at KYJO we love staying busier than most. Right around the corner will be KYJO's 2nd Annual BBQ Cook-Off at Fresno State's O'Neill Park on Oct. 19. This promises to be another memorable event for our foster youth, community, and my Bulldogs! Together we will inspire each other! From getting tutelage on the gridiron to BBQ'n with your favorite Fresno State football legend the fun doesn't stop. The same people you grew up watching, you can now grill with or against! Want to be a spectator? Come see top pitmasters compete against restaurants and each other. The cook-off is one part of Bring It Home Weekend.
This weekend promises to be tradition rich so you don't want to miss it!
Once again, I want to thank you ALL for your support. I would like to especially thank my staff, without you there would be no KYJO. So let's continue to strive to be the best that we can be. As Winston Churchill once said, "To be perfect means to change often."
Your continuing support, monetary donations/in-kind donations are what continues KYJO on the path to greatness!
The cook-off is one part of Bring It Home Weekend. For more details on Bring it Home Weekend and its events click here.