Celebrating with Purposeful Giving
Today, as we remember what would have been James' 38th birthday, the JPO Foundation is honored to commemorate his legacy by awarding a series of grants to organizations dedicated to the education of healthy relationships and crisis mental health services. This year alone, we've proudly disbursed a total of $36,200 to deserving institutions, with more on the horizon.
We extend our heartfelt congratulations to the esteemed recipients:
This monumental endeavor would not have been possible without the unwavering support of our JPO sponsors, donors, and volunteers. Your commitment and generosity have been instrumental in turning our vision into reality, and for that, we are eternally grateful.
Our day began with a touching Mass in James' honor at the Oblates Chapel at St. Francis. The memories shared and sentiments expressed by Fr. O, Fr. Zobler, Fr. Rose, Joe Sweeney, and Maureen DeLaney from James' beloved school provided solace and strength to all present. In particular, Fr. O's uplifting message – reminding us that James is not gone, but simply waiting for us in heaven – brought immense comfort to our hearts.
Today, and always, we remain inspired by James' spirit and are committed to advancing the cause he held dear. As we look to the future, the JPO Foundation will continue to champion mental health awareness and education, keeping James' memory alive through our endeavors.
Thank you to everyone for standing with us on this journey of love, remembrance, and hope.
A Weekend of Tennis, Brotherhood, and Mental Health Awareness
The picturesque Graul Varsity Tennis Complex at the University of Dayton came alive on September 15th and 16th, hosting the 2nd Annual James O'Connell Memorial Tournament. With participation from the tennis powerhouses of Ball State, Xavier, Northern Kentucky, and UD, it was not just a showcase of premier collegiate tennis but also a poignant tribute to the legacy of James O'Connell.
Beyond the electrifying matches, the tournament embodied the spirit of camaraderie, sportsmanship, and unity – all hallmarks of James' life and memory. The atmosphere was thick with emotion as the UD Coach, Ryan Meyer, and James' parents, Kevin and Deb O'Connell, addressed the Friday night dinner gathering. Their heartfelt words about mental health and crisis intervention struck a chord with everyone present, including UD Women's Tennis and Golf team members.
Highlighting the dedication of the UD Athletic Department towards fostering mental well-being amongst student-athletes, the JPO Foundation proudly contributed $2,500 towards this noble initiative. It's inspiring to witness how athletic platforms are being leveraged to underscore the significance of mental health, a topic often sidelined.
Connor Bruce, UD's top singles player, eloquently summed up the event's spirit. As quoted on the UD website, he remarked, "This weekend was a great start for Flyer tennis and for an even better cause remembering former UD tennis great James O'Connell."
A special shout-out to UD Coach Ryan Meyer and the retired MSU Coach Gene Orlando – their unwavering support and dedication have been instrumental to the JPO Foundation.
A heartfelt thank you goes out to every coach, player, teammate, and friend of James who made this weekend unforgettable. Here's to more such tournaments where sports and societal change converge!
The support from the community during our 2nd Annual James P. O'Connell Charity Tennis Event in July was truly remarkable. The event encapsulated the spirit of "It's All About Love," rallying everyone together to contribute towards raising vital funds for local nonprofits that align with the JPO mission.
Through the incredible generosity of our sponsors, players, community partners, and donors, we are proud to share that we are poised to allocate nearly $50,000 back into our community this year. These funds will be instrumental in addressing the pressing mental health needs of young adults, fostering healthy relationships, and providing crisis mental healthcare. Last year, funds were distributed to Eric Fox Teen Pep Scholarship, Luken T Boyle Campaign of Kindness, JED Foundation, UTMC Department of Psychiatry, ProMedica Teen PEP Program, Speak Peace, American Foundation for Suicide prevention, and The One Love Foundation in Honor of Yeardley Love Inc. We will keep you posted as we distribute throughout the year!
The involvement and support of the Jensen brothers were a highlight of the day. We are grateful for their commitment to this cause. Murphy's addresses to both adults and children left an impact, creating moments that will be remembered forever.
A heartfelt expression of gratitude is owed to our 40+ sponsors whose support made this event possible. We extend the same appreciation to our 30 teaching professionals and 12 community partners who dedicated their invaluable time and expertise, collectively enriching the experience of over 250 adults and children during this fantastic day.
For a recap of the day's events and an insight into the JPO mission, we invite you to view the wonderful video provided by BCSN.
We welcome your support as we continue to support the mission of the foundation. If you're inclined to contribute, please consider making a donation. For those interested in volunteering, becoming future event sponsors, or seeking more information about the JPO Foundation, please refer to the Contact Us link.
Stay tuned for the announcement of the date for our 2024 "It's All About Love" tennis event. Your continued support ensures the continuity of this meaningful endeavor!
On October 1st, Lauren Jackson organized a team in James’ memory for the Toledo Out of the Darkness walk. Lauren is a member of our JPO Foundation committee and one of James’ closest friends. Lauren, along with James’ friends and family raised awareness for suicide and suicide prevention. Events like these, bring light to the topic and makes it easier for survivors to talk about their loved one. Together, their team raised almost $2,000! These donations will go towards the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) to invest in new research, create educational programs, advocate for public policy, and support survivors of suicide. We are so lucky to have this organization researching, educating, bringing survivors of suicide loss together, and honoring our loved ones lost.
On September 23rd, 2022, Deb O'Connell, was honored to share James's story and the mission of the JPO Foundation for ProMedica's TeenPEP Fall Training Session. This session was held at Toledo Hospital to train over 150 area high school student leaders into becoming youth educators in order to present to their peers ways to cope with mental health issues, suicide, sexual assault, and teen dating violence. This program is a youth led primary abuse prevention program that involves students in creating a positive environment where responsible decisions and respect are valued.
The JPO Foundation is a proud partner and donor to this program as its strategic goals align perfectly with our mission to help people who find themselves in toxic relationships. If you are a student or parent of one that you think would like to be involved with this groundbreaking initiative, please let us know through our Contact page and we'll get you in touch with the the appropriate person, answer any questions, and be happy to get you any additional information you might be interested in.
The University of Dayton Men's Tennis program hosted the First Annual James O'Connell Memorial Invitational on September 23 and 24 at the beautiful Graul Tennis Complex on the UD campus. UD, Xavier, Ball State, and Northern Kentucky competed in the hidden dual matches under perfect weather conditions in James's memory. The level of tennis was fantastic and it was a terrific tribute to James who loved every minute of his four years as a Flyer.
The O'Connell family would like to extend a big thank you to Coach Meyer, James's teammates, Tom Murphy, Jameson Downs, and Mike Rohanna, along with the whole UD Athletic Department for making the weekend such a success. It was great to reminisce with James's teammates, Coach Brumbaugh, and parents from those fun years. It also was a pleasure to get to know the current team and many of their parents. UD will always have a special place in our hearts! Go Flyers!
The JPO Foundation was pleased to present a check on October 3, 2022 to the UTMC Department of Psychiatry that will help fund the new UT Center for Social Neuroscience that will study the social components of depression, suicide, and other psychiatric illnesses. Their work in particular will focus on the impact of educating and modeling healthy relationships for at-risk adolescents, their parents and those with whom they interact with the ultimate goal of increasing resilience to, and ultimately avoidance of the negative impact of abusive relationships on mental and physical health. We are thrilled to partner with UTMC on this initiative. Today would have been James's 37th birthday. Our hope is that all the funds we raise will keep another family, James's hundreds of friends, teammates, coaches, and colleagues from having to endure another tragedy like this.
JPO FOUNDATION PRESENTS $5,000 CHECK