By Lester Holmes, HHS Communications
More than 50 Cuyahoga County foster care, kinship care and adoptive families were treated to a recent Cleveland Monsters hockey game thanks to the generosity of an organization dedicated to creating free experiences for those in need.
Ticket to Hope, an Ohio-based non-profit, successfully partnered with the Cuyahoga County Division of Children and Family Services (DCFS) to provide hockey tickets to the Cuyahoga County families. Jim Foliano, the Executive Director for Ticket to Hope said he started the organization after the reaction he received after he donated a pair of Columbus Crew soccer team tickets to a Columbus area Ronald McDonald House.
“The response I got back in return, not only from the family, but the employees blew my mind,” said Foliano.
A Break from Life
Folonio, 41, had a typical upbringing in the greater Cincinnati area. His parents were not rich, but the family enjoyed the lifestyle of a middle-class family. Things changed once Folonio’s mother was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. With the diagnosis dramatically changing the emotional and financial status of home, Folonio realized how precious the opportunity to attend a sporting event is for families.
“My dad, who at this point, couldn’t afford to go to a (Cincinnati) Reds game, he would come home from work with tickets. Just taking in an experience like being able to go to a game with my dad. It was priceless,” said Foliano. He wants to give youth and families today a respite from the complications of life by attending a game, concert, or event.
“It was so powerful and impactful to me and that’s what I’m trying to spread through Tickets to Hope.”
What started as a gesture to give soccer tickets to a family in Columbus, has grown into a tri-state effort to supply youth and families from Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky. After a few meetings with staff from the Cleveland Monsters, the organization secured 1400 tickets with a portion going to DCFS.
As far as the response goes for the families who attended the Monsters' game, the experience was a home run, or more appropriately, a 'hat trick.'
“We had an amazing time," said a Cuyahoga County foster care mother who attended the game. "We have 6 children 2 of which are currently in foster care, and this was their first hockey game. They had a blast."
Ticket to Hope is providing more tickets to local sporting events in 2023 for DCFS families. For more information on Ticket to Hope, including how you can help secure tickets for families in need, visit their website at https://tickettohope.com/.