By Meghan Fitzpatrick
Cabo San Lucas hosts a number of charitable events each year, all of which raise money for great causes. One of the newest fund-raising efforts here is the Champagne Jam. All the who’s who of Cabo and much of Baja Sur will attend to raise money for the Ray Thomas Foundation, an organization that works to improve schools and implement sports and after-school programs into Baja California schools. This event takes place tomorrow, Friday, March 30, in Cabo San Lucas at the 12 Tribes Restaurant in the Casa Dorada Resort, overlooking Medano Beach. Tickets will be available at the door for $35, which includes a welcome glass of champagne; all VIP tickets and premium tables for this year’s event are sold out.
The first Champagne Jam last year was a tremendous success, raising enough money to open a new kitchen in one of Cabo San Lucas’ underfunded schools. That kitchen now feeds more than 150 kids every day. The goal is to open at least one new kitchen every year in Baja, in addition to raising awareness for the Ray Thomas Foundation and helping to implement community clean-up programs and after-school programs throughout the Baja Peninsula.
This year‘s event line-up includes multiple internationally acclaimed headliners, such as Shane Dwight, American Idolist Michael Johns, Dana Atherton’s Jazz Trio from San Francisco, Mexican Folk Music by Monica Rojas, and the youth rock groups Rapid Fire and Equazion. There will also be a few surprise acts in store for the crowd. In addition to the champagne and the music, there will also be a raffle and silent and live auctions.
The Ray Thomas Foundation, also known as The Foundation Youth Education Sport (Y.E.S.) in the U.S. and Grupo de Apoyo Ray Thomas (G.A.R.T.) in Mexico, is an organization that was established by American softball umpires in 1989. The group’s primary objective was to share their passion for sports with the children of Baja – and they did just that. Americans and Mexicans alike joined forces and supported the cause to help provide the children of Baja with sports programs and equipment, and over time, a number of additional school and community programs.
Now, 22 years later, the Ray Thomas Foundation is a strong Baja organization, helping schools and local communities throughout the peninsula. Some of the organization’s efforts include school breakfast programs, special needs facilities, and community graffiti clean-up initiatives (since the Ray Thomas Foundation arrived in Cabo, graffiti throughout the city has gone down considerably), numerous sports programs, and even a program that teaches children how to care for their pets.
In 2011 the RTF started the ¨Adopt a School¨ program designated to give the hotels in the Los Cabos area, an opportunity to sponsor poor schools by implementing these different programs. The participating hotels have their logos prominently displayed at all RTF events and are given the opportunity to participate in any of the above programs with their sponsored school.
State governments and D.I.F. (Desarrollo Integral de La Familia) are generally responsible for most of the funding of RTF’s programs in the state of Baja California Sur. Last year in La Paz, the mayor even started a co-ed slow-pitch softball program for six school districts. Currently there are five schools in Cabo San Lucas that are involved with RTF’s sponsorship program, with more than 130 teams and more than 900 children involved.
For more information about the Ray Thomas Foundation, visit http://www.raythomasgroup.org/ or find the group on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/RayThomasFoundation. For more information about the Champagne Jam, or to book your tickets, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (624) 143 2726.
Photos credits: Tana Craighead & The Cabo Wine Club