A physical home for heartfelt work. The Doors Open at the Deni & Jeff Jacobs Challenged Athletes Center

So much of the great work being done in the area of sports and development is about the program itself, not so much the physical location, i.e. the building, the sports complex, etc. where it is taking place. In many cases individuals and organizations do so much with comparatively little resources. The impact on the various stakeholders – kids, families, communities, sports entities – are gleaned from the experience of being part of or at least exposed to the program.

That being said, having a great space in which to implement programs, educate the public, and serve as a gathering place for social events would certainly be appreciated by all involved in this field. Well, we were notified of such a space and are more than happy to share the news with you.

You will find below the announcement of the opening of the Deni & Jeff Jacobs Challenged Athletes Center. We congratulate the Challenged Athletes Foundation, the Jacobs Family, and all of their supporters on creating such a “physical” representation of their efforts.  Please click here for a virtual tour of the facility.

Thanks to everyone’s amazing support, we are excited to announce that the ribbon has been cut and the doors opened to the Deni & Jeff Jacobs Challenged Athletes Center!  The building dedication and ribbon cutting took place on Tuesday, February 8, 2011 followed by a public grand opening and open house on Saturday, February 12, 2011. The Tuesday night event kicked off with San Diego’s own Mayor Jerry Sanders, joined by Deni and Jeff Jacobs, along with their two sons, for the formal ribbon cutting and declaration.

“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.”

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 day also 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 first-ever 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.

Thanks to the generosity of Deni and Jeff Jacobs, the riders of CAF’s Million Dollar Challenge and our generous building donors and business partners, and all of you, an incredible milestone has been reached and CAF’s dream of building a better future for challenged athletes has finally come true.