[NPI]/Media/5/jpg/2009/4/8mcginnis09.jpg[/NPI]The Third Annual Kelly McGinnis Memorial Fund Charity (KMMF) Golf Tournament will be held Saturday, May 16, at Eagle Crest Golf Club in Escondido.
The tournament began as a venue for a grieving family, but has grown into a story of compassion and triumph.
Kelly McGinnis, a Class of 2005 Ramona High School graduate, was killed in a car accident on Christmas Eve 2005. He was only 18.
Some students and staff at RHS remember McGinnis as being a somewhat difficult student with behavioral problems. Traditional school for him was unpleasant and difficult at best, according to his family. It became a place of hardship and failure, with suspension being a temporary, but welcomed, relief. It wasn’t until McGinnis discovered vocational training programs at RHS that he found a reason to keep going and stay in school.
That was the Kelly the school knew.
“It is the Kelly the rest of us knew who grew into such a generous young man,” said his mother Lisa. “He always stopped to change flat tires for people on the side of the freeway...One day, he stopped three times for people on the way home.”
The automotive and welding programs held the most interest for McGinnis through graduation. As a result of the vocational program, he was an apprentice technician at Toyota of Escondido, continuing work there after graduation.
The memorial fund began as a program for other students, like McGinnis, who do not do as well in a traditional school setting. The McGinnis family had asked for donations to be sent to the “Ramona High School Kelly McGinnis Fund” in support of the school’s automotive and welding programs.
So large was the response in financial donations from family, friends and even the San Diego Gulls that the McGinnis family saw the opportunity to “do a tremendous amount of good” for other students who struggle scholastically, said his mother. They decided to figure out a way to keep the foundation alive beyond the single year of donations that poured in.
“We raise and donate funds to high school SkillsUSA and ROP programs,” she said.
The donations plus funds from the first golf tournament came to more than $25,000. The money given directly to the RHS ($16,000 the first year) is for the support of and scholarships and tools for high school students who are directly involved in the vocational programs at the school.
Funds from the KMMF continue to benefit vocational programs at Ramona High School. The foundation has given money to the automotive department to upgrade software packages and supply welding materials. A grant also provided equipment to the audiovisual department as well as a $1,000 scholarship to one student.
Automotive department coordinator and teacher Robert Grace (of Drag Race High) has been working closely with the foundation to obtain needed services and equipment for the department.
Since the birth of the KMMF, it has grown into a full-fledged nonprofit organization. Roger and Lisa McGinnis began the arduous task of filling out the government forms and applying for nonprofit status during the first year. The new nonprofit was officially approved on the first submittal of the application.
Through golf tournaments slated for mid-May and at poker runs, the KMMF will continue to touch the lives of young adults who might otherwise end up in low-paying jobs. Lisa McGinnis understands the struggles some kids have with traditional education and she wants to equip them for a productive future.
“We want to give these kids a purpose,” she said. “If we give them a reason to stay in school as well as a chance for training in a field (where) they can make an honest living ... the memory of Kelly will live on through them. The Kelly McGinnis Memorial Foundation provides a positive way to remember Kelly and what he meant to us, while providing charitable support for the program that helped shape his life and opportunities for students that are following vocational career paths.”
For more information or to download a registration form to participate in the golf tournament, go to the kmmf.com. The catered event is open to everyone, so one does not need to be a golfer to participate. Cost is $125 per golfer and $25 per person for dinner.
Last year’s tournament raised $13,080. Prizes such as a Las Vegas backstage meet and greet with Rita Rudner, orchestra seats at Phantom of the Opera and Disney tickets are available as a thank you for supporting the young adults benefiting from the program.
“With your help we can positively impact the lives of future generations,” says the McGinnis family.
The tournament will have a 1:30 p.m. shotgun start.
More information also is at The Kelly McGinnis Memorial Foundation, 619-303-0296 or 4524 Date Ave., La Mesa, CA 91941.