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‘You really can do this’: Golf tournament aims to benefit organization that helps disadvantaged youth

Golfers pose for a group photo at the first Believe in Me charity golf tournament in June 2021 at Circling Raven Golf Club in Worley, Idaho.  (Courtesy of Believeinme.org)
Golfers pose for a group photo at the first Believe in Me charity golf tournament in June 2021 at Circling Raven Golf Club in Worley, Idaho. (Courtesy of Believeinme.org)

A local charity that transformed during the pandemic hopes to raise $125,000 this weekend to help boost its work for kids.

The Believe in Me foundation provides grants to programs to help children. Friday is one of the organization’s biggest events of the philanthropic season – a golf tournament at Circling Raven Golf Club in Worley, Idaho.

This is the second year in a row for the event.

“The golf tournament was kind of born out of the desire for us to kind of get out there in the community and raise awareness for our cause,” Julie Wukelic, the organization’s CEO, said on Monday. “There are way too many kids out there in the community that grew up with lack of resources or lack of support that they need.”

Believe In Me measures results based on the children whose lives are forever changed through its “five pillars of caring,” according to Wukelic. The five pillars are: transitional housing, foster care, “wrap around” services like counseling, education and enrichment through play, the arts and outdoor immersion.

“It’s really all about fulfilling all those needs,” Wukelic said. “Our game is all about that sentiment that any of us who have amounted to anything in life really can probably go back to some situation in our past where we had an adult sit us down and say, ‘You know what, you really can do this.’ The idea that I can give back to the community and hopefully intervene for these kids much earlier on in their lives, really, is what gets me going in the morning.”

As a grant-based organization, Believe In Me goes through an intense selection process to ensure its benefits are directed to the most applicable charities in the region that align with their “five pillars.”

Wukelic said Believe In Me issued grants to roughly 15 organizations over the past year that met all their qualifications.

“We’re hoping to grow that even more in our upcoming year,” she said.

The golf tournament at Circling Raven is just one of the organization’s big fundraisers for the year. Another is their black-tie gala in October at the Davenport Grand Hotel. This year is a James Bond theme; they hope to raise an additional $200,000.

Believe in Me was born out of the Morning Star Boys’ Ranch, which was founded in 1956 by the Catholic diocese. In 2006, a separate nonprofit foundation was formed to manage the large donation base that had accumulated. To help the public distinguish between the two separately operated entities, the foundation changed its name in November 2021.

Wukelic said Believe in Me went through a transition phase through the pandemic.

“We’ve actually done our rebranding, and we moved to a new location and we’ve kind of come up with a whole new entourage of events that we’re doing to make friends out in the community,” Wukelic said.

More information about the organization’s charities, grants, donations and events is available at Believeinme.org or by calling (509) 448-1412.

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