By: Tom Fink | Category: Special Interest | Issue: March 2022
Ralph Richardson, CEO, Home of Hope.
For generations, Home of Hope has served members of the community dealing with intellectual or developmental disadvantages to create opportunities and provide, as the name implies, hope.
Hope for a better life.
Hope to contribute to society.
Hope to have the opportunity to make a difference.
One means by which Home of Hope does this is by way of its annual benefit golf tournament, the proceeds of which go to benefit the Home of Hope subsidiary, Rogers County Training Center.
This spring will see the return of this annual tournament when Home of Hope welcomes back the 37th annual Rogers County Training Center Golf Classic & ‘19th Hole Silent Auction.”
As in the past, this year’s tournament will be a four-man scramble with designated tee times and flights. Home-cooked hamburgers, hot dogs, lots of exciting golf games, and even the opportunity to win a “super prize” for the skilled golfer who makes a hole-in-one are only a fraction of the fun to be had the day of the tournament.
In addition to the golfing, the ‘19th Hole’ Silent Auction will be taking place during this time at the clubhouse, where interesting, fun, unusual, and elegant items will be showcased.
Friendly online bidding will be in full swing starting Friday, April 29, at noon. Golfers, or those who just like to shop, can view the items at the Heritage Hills clubhouse during the week leading up to the event. The auction will close at 5 p.m. on May 6. Winning bidders can pick up their items from 5 to 6 p.m. at the clubhouse or during the following week at the Rogers County Training Center. Follow the Home of Hope Facebook page for silent auction updates.
All proceeds from the tournament and the silent auction go to support those with developmental and other disabilities at the Rogers County Training Center in Claremore and other Home of Hope job sites in the community.
“The whole point of the Rogers County Training Center, which has been a part of Home of Hope for years, is to empower people with disabilities,” said Ralph Richardson, CEO, Home of Hope. “We work with 270 people with intellectual and developmental disabilities here in northeastern Oklahoma – that’s in Vinita, Miami, Pryor, Jay and Claremore.
“We provide neighborhood service (for clients) in homes in the community – we have just over 60 different homes at present,” he continued, “but the training center is all about jobs, and jobs for persons with disabilities. Home of Hope as a whole employs roughly 200 people with disabilities – about 40 of those are in Claremore, here at the training center or through our recycling program, which is part of our partnership with the Metropolitan Environmental Trust (MET).”
In addition to the work training center and the recycling program, Home of Hope clients can work at the thrift store, Centsible Spending Resale Store in downtown Claremore.
Centsible Spending provides employment for persons with disabilities, as well as job coaches, and operates on donated goods, such as household items, books, clothing and more. Donations are accepted at the Claremore location and, like donations directly to Home of Hope, are tax deductible.
In addition to helping its clients through giving them a means to be productive and purposeful, Home of Hope and Rogers County Training Center also benefit the communities it serves through providing a dedicated and earnest workforce.
“I think one of the most recent statistics of U.S. overall employment is 57 percent, but the disability employment rate of those within the U.S. is roughly 17 percent – shockingly low,” he said. “That’s not a new problem, but compared to 2019 – when the rate of those with disabilities were employed was at 19 percent – it’s actually going down. Part of this may be due to COVID, but ironically, I think there’s a tightening job market (for those with disabilities). You would think everyone’s trying to hire because of the workforce shortage, but the reality is that many small businesses are struggling to stay open, and it becomes harder for a person with a disability to ‘get their foot in the door’ and get employed. The biggest challenge for so many is entry – it’s getting hired.
“Sadly, we do not do well as a nation employing people with disabilities,” he said, “which makes what we do at Home of Hope and at the training center in Rogers County all the more important.”
Founded in 1963, the Rogers County Training Center in Claremore creates those important vocational opportunities for adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities, while also providing local businesses with labor, either on a temporary, intermittent or permanent basis.
Much of what Home of Hope offers would be impossible without funds raised through the annual golf tournament.
“The golf tournament is a critical part of what allows us to continue to help our clients and contribute to the community,” he said. “Plus, we’re always looking for business partners who need support, and people who are supported by us, coached by us, trained by us, could come and be a part of working and resolving the problems they have at our partners or organizations that are understaffed.”
The tournament is made possible by BancFirst, who through volunteers, coordination, planning, and participation have been “instrumental from the very first year of the tournament until today in making this event such a success,” Richardson said.
Other major event sponsors include HydroHoist, Mcfarlin-Ingersoll Ranch, Goldie’s Patio Grill, Kissee Ford, Heritage Hills Golf Course, and Walke Brothers meat company.
Tee Times can fill up, so signing up early is strongly encouraged. For more information, or to sponsor or purchase hole signs for the 37th Annual Rogers County Training Center Golf Classic & ‘19th Hole’ Silent Auction, contact Amy Littleton at 918-283-8953 or email eat1@eau1eav1eaw1.
For more information about the Rogers County Training Center, visit them at 2112 E.L. Anderson Boulevard in Claremore or online at www.homeofhope.com or contact Rick Davis at 918-810-6757.
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