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August 08, 2011 - Aurora Community Leaders Play Fore Our Kids

What: Aurora Vista Foundation's 19th Annual Golf Tournament

Where: Murphy Creek Golf Course

When: Monday, August 8, 2011

Time: 7:00 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.

Ticket Prices: $100 and up

Beneficiary: Kids with special needs

Presenting Sponsor(s): Citywide Banks

Staff: Randy Stith, CEO & Exec. Dir.; Chris Beasley, Deputy Director, Adult Outpatient & Information Services; Dan Dawson, CFO; George Gielow, Technology & Operations Director; Debbie Grace, Admin. Director; Michael Kucera, Deputy Director of Adult Services; Marvin Robbins, Medical Director; Kathie Snell, Deputy Director, Child & Family Services; Richard Swanson, Research & Program Evaluation Director

Introductions: Heather Jackson, Development Coordinator

Welcome: Heather Jackson, Development Coordinator

Speaker: Kevin Hougen, President, Aurora Chamber of Commerce

Libations: Murphy Creek Golf Course

Catering: Murphy Creek Golf Course

Of note: Mayoral Candidate Debbie Stafford and Representative Nancy Todd, Chief Mike Garcia

Sponsors: Gold: Araphaoe/Douglas Mental Health Network, Behavioral Healthcare, Community Reach Center; Iron: FirstBank, Karen Springer, Metro Community Providers Network, Ruth Ryan, Vernon Stith Memorial

Menu: Grilled burgers, BBQ chicken breasts, dijon potato salad, baked beans, chocolate chip cookies

Attendance: 75

Attire: Golf

Event Coordinator: Tawney Bass

Planning Committee: Tawney Bass, Kathie Snell, Lynda Cukale

Board of Directors: Larry Dávila, President; June Smigel, Vice President; Gregg Fanselau, Secretary; Ruth Ryan, Treasurer

Blacktie Photos by: M. Darcy

 1st place team: Rob Harris, Mike Larson, Dewey Patrick and Roger Homrighausen
1st place team: Rob Harris, Mike Larson, Dewey Patrick and Roger Homrighausen

On a sunny and bright Monday, August 8, nearly 75 community leaders took a mental health day from work to play “fore our kids.”  They all came to play the greens at Murphy Creek Golf Course to benefit the Aurora Vistas Foundation for Mental Health, which brings much needed counseling programs to elementary schools.  These schools have no budget for counselors, making Vistas programs all that more critical to fill the gap. 

It may surprise you that elementary school aged children need counseling, but according to the Aurora Mental Health Center (AUMHC), one in five children has a mental, emotional or behavioral disorder.  And the numbers are rising. 

Just as the economy has put pressure on parents, kids are feeling the stress as well. Children often receive the brunt of family stress, and counselors are seeing children who have been traumatized by abuse and violence, struggling with mood disorders and depression.  They’re coming to school hungry and acting out in class or withdrawing from social activity.  

Kathie Snell, Deputy Director of Family Services at AUMHC explains, “What affects the parents, affects the child.  The children we see are referred to us by parents and teachers, and often, we find there’s more going on than their behavior.  You see the same mental disorders in children as you do adults; it just looks different.”  The Vistas program provides ten therapists for Aurora Public Schools.  Snell adds, “Our focus is on elementary aged children, but the need is huge across all levels.” 

Snell explained that one reason for that focus is because “early prevention heads off future trouble.”  In other words, they hope to reduce future middle school and high school problems by working with children and parents when the problems start, teaching children better coping mechanisms and addressing family issues.  However, while Vistas’ early childhood program works with children from ages 0 to 6, it also with the caregivers, offering better parenting skills and family dynamics. 

So how does golf help kids? Well, just as businessmen make deals on the golf course, “Fore Our Kids” annual golf tournaments bring Aurora’s community leaders together to raise funds, and also to learn about the issues impacting the mental health of their community’s children. Funds raised at the tournament provide summer activities, toys for play therapy, school playgrounds, outdoor education programs, and even babysitting to allow parents to meet with their child’s therapist. 

Some familiar faces on the green included Representative Nancy Todd, Mayoral candidate and Faith Based Coordinator at AUMHC Debbie Stafford, Fire Chief Mike Garcia (who didn’t play but made everyone laugh) and fellow leadership graduate, Kathy Zinter Kat Torres was the talk of the lunch line for several amazing shots, including longest putt, which was par with Brett Hoyt’s longest putt of the day.  The winner of most lost balls wishes to remain anonymous, but his count was an impressive eight.  Lance Smith made the longest drive.  He also shares closest to the hole with Martina Bass.  First place team went to Greg and Kat Torres, Lance Smith and Aaron Cook.  But everyone’s a winner when you play to make life easier. 

Think you can do better than this year’s stars?  Follow Aurora Vistas at and bring your team to play “Fore Our Kids” next year.  For more information, call 303-617-2300.




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