Earlier this month, I was invited to attend the Tim Tebow Celebrity Gala and Golf Classic in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL. After reading about the mission and purpose of the foundation, I gladly accepted my invitation to join their celebrity guest list. All I can say is I’m so happy I did! It was such an amazing event and experience that I couldn’t wait to share with you :).
We arrived in Ponte Vedra on Friday afternoon in order to attend the gala that evening. The event was a red carpet affair attended by numerous media outlets interviewing and taking pictures of the arriving celebrities. Attendees included Anthony Mackie from the Captain America franchise, Jordin Sparks, Chip Gaines from Fixer Upper, the Duck Dynasty family, Hillary Scott from Lady Antebellum, Marcus Allen, Derrick Henry, and countless others. Tim Tebow, of course, was in the house with a special exemption from the NY Mets as they’re currently in spring training. The MC for the night was none other than Scott Hanson. If you don’t know the name, you probably know his voice as the host of the NFL Redzone.
While celebrities help gather the crowd, the real stars of the night and weekend were the many children of the Tim Tebow Foundation. The foundation has raised over $7 million in just 5 years not including this year. The proceeds are used to help sick, injured, and special needs children all around the world. We got to see and hear firsthand some of the lives the foundation has changed. I met a little boy named Devon who is currently battling medulloblastoma but has refused to let it take his smile. Another girl, Samantha, was cruelly mocked in her village in the Philippines because of a large growth around her mouth. After visiting several local doctors, she and her family had all but given up hope until the Tebow Foundation found her and completely changed her life forever. The before and after pictures literally brought the room to tears. Tori, a teenager with Down Syndrome, got to go to prom through the Night to Shine program. Even better, all 400 gala guests experienced the night with her through the magic of virtual reality. These and many other stories were shared until there wasn’t a dry eye in the room. Next up Clayton Jennings, a renowned poet and evangelist, primed the room for the fundraising auction with a powerful spoken word poem capped off with a standing ovation. Lastly, Scott Van Pelton of ESPN took the mic and proceeded to auction some of the coolest prizes you can imagine. Dinner with Jamie Foxx and frog hunting with the guys from Duck Dynasty were just a couple examples. By the time the night was over, the foundation had raised an auction record of over $1.2 million!!
The following day was a golf event at the TPC Sawgrass. I’m not a golfer but apparently, this is one of the most famous golf courses in the world. Not being a golfer also I meant I got to spend my day with the real stars…the kids!! Devon and I raced around the course for his first ever golf cart ride and we got him signed balls from Tim Tebow and Willie from Duck Dynasty. Another boy, Avery, gave me a personally signed teddy bear he had gotten earlier in the day (heart officially melted). Cole was quite the character and tried to steal a kiss despite telling me he had a girlfriend 5 minutes earlier lol. I could go on and on as these kids were so funny, smart, and filled with absolute pure love. I was invited by the foundation to inspire them but left as the inspired one.
As many of you know, I have my own foundation Miami Model Citizens. We regularly donate time and resources to children, women, homeless, and animal welfare organizations in and around the Miami area. This weekend only added fire to my passion for growing MMC and touching as many lives as we can. It was incredibly inspiring to see so many celebrities coming together through their shared faith and love of children to truly make a difference. In total, the Tebow Foundation raised over $2 MILLION this past weekend!! Thank you, Tim Tebow, for the personal invitation and I can’t wait to come back and help again next year!