Photo by Hulsephoto.com
The Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF), a world leader in empowering physically challenged athletes to find success in sport–and in life–officially pronounced the Deni & Jeff Jacobs Challenged Athletes Center open on Tuesday, February 8, 2011 with a building dedication ceremony and ribbon cutting, followed by a public grand opening and open house on Saturday, February 12, 2011. The building dedication featured remarks from San Diego’s Mayor Jerry Sanders, who was joined by Deni and Jeff Jacobs and their two sons for the formal ribbon cutting and declaration. At Saturday’s public grand opening, CAF showcased the facility’s special features through a wheelchair basketball demo, building tours, videos and a special presentation.
“The work of the Challenged Athletes Foundation has helped improve the lives of people literally all over the globe,” said Mayor Jerry Sanders. “I was honored to participate in the ribbon-cutting for the foundation’s new building on Tuesday night. This great organization will be able to harness its resources even more effectively now that it has a permanent home of its own.”
“It was an honor and pleasure to have my whole family present at the Challenged Athletes Foundation building ribbon cutting,” said Jeff Jacobs, CAF Board Member, former Executive Vice President at Qualcomm, and now owner of Rancho Valencia Resort and Spa. “Having my children participate in the evening was important to me and my wife Deni as it opened their eyes to the limitless potential of people with physical challenges, and the importance of helping others in our community. We couldn’t be prouder of the work that CAF does, and are thrilled that this new center will empower CAF to serve and educate an even greater population in an even more meaningful way.”
Other Tuesday night ribbon cutting attendees consisted of local politicians, sports legends, business leaders and philanthropists including: Councilmember Sherri Lightner, Basketball Hall of Famer Bill Walton, former Charger greats Junior Seau and Rolf Berniske and Joan and Irwin Jacobs to name a few.
Saturday’s highlights included a special racing chair presentation to German Estrada, a 13 year-old paraplegic from Los Angeles. In 2010, German participated in the Los Angeles Marathon as part of the Students Run LA group. Not only was it a milestone event for German because it was his firstever marathon, but he raced it (and finished it) in a barrowed racing chair that literally fell apart during the race–challenging for the toughest of wheelchair athletes. Now, thanks to the Challenged Athletes Foundation, Andy Gallardo of Kaiser Permanente and Mary Thompson, a fellow CAF grantee and a LA Marathon Legacy Runner (completed every LA Marathon since the first race in 1986), were able to present German with his very own racing chair to use at this year’s marathon. It was a moving moment that brought the building and the mission of CAF to life for everyone in attendance.
Deni & Jeff Jacobs Challenged Athletes Center highlights include: The RC Baker Foundation CAF Educational Center, an interactive facility where people can learn about the willpower, technology and resources required for challenged athletes to participate in sports. Multi-purpose Mixing Chamber that will allow CAF to host onsite wheelchair basketball, sitting volleyball, stationary cycling, mobility and many other types of fitness and conditioning clinics for the first time in the organization’s history. Matrix Training Facility which provides access to adaptive equipment, and teaches challenged athletes how to correctly use equipment found in their neighborhood gyms. State of the art audio visual system graciously donated by Sony Electronics, Inc. and Meyer Sound Systems that will project CAF’s message of hope and the inspirational stories of the athletes we support to the community.