Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Simien, Moody to chair tourney

Charity golf event to benefit Lawrence’s Family Promise

Former Kansas University basketball standout Wayne Simien has retired from professional basketball and has started Called to Greatness, a Christian-based sports organization through Morning Star Christian Church, 998 N. 1771 Road, and Midwest Student Ministries.

Former Kansas University basketball standout Wayne Simien has retired from professional basketball and has started Called to Greatness, a Christian-based sports organization through Morning Star Christian Church, 998 N. 1771 Road, and Midwest Student Ministries.


The inaugural Family Promise of Lawrence Charity Golf Tournament, set for Sept. 21 at Lawrence Country Club, will benefit the Lawrence chapter of Family Promise, a faith-based, non-profit program designed to help homeless adults with children.

The program draws hosts from local congregations to house families in need and provides food, transportation and counseling to those families.

“Every family is unique and everyone has a different story,” said tourney organizer Joe Reitz, who founded the Lawrence chapter of Family Promise in 2007.

“We’re there to help them figure out how they became homeless and how to get out. Within two or three months, they can wind up with a place to live, with a job, and with a reasonable chance of staying housed rather than being homeless again.”

Reitz — organizer of the Dale Willey Automotive sponsored tournament — said back in ’07 “a lot of people didn’t realize was how big a problem this was. When they did the census in Lawrence, half of the people who were homeless had kids.

“There was no really good facility for people with kids. We have two homeless centers — the Salvation Army and the Lawrence Community Shelter, but they’re not really places you would want kids to go. We want people to know about the problem, that there are lots of homeless children in Lawrence,” Reitz said.

The tournament will serve as the first major fundraiser for the local program. It has drawn the support of 26 area churches as well as former Kansas University basketball players Wayne Simien and Christian Moody, honorary co-chairs.

“I had worked with Joe Reitz before helping to provide shelter and other services to those families who couldn’t afford it,” Simien said. “So when he told me about Family Promise, I wanted to get involved with that. I think it’s a great cause and I’m glad to work with Joe Reitz again. With everything he’s done, he’s got a great heart.”

Simien’s own church, Morning Star Christian Church, is one of the congregations that helps facilitate the program by hosting families.

“I’m glad to help out through my congregation,” Simien said. “Hopefully Christian and I can also put a name and a face to this tournament and help people get involved. We want to raise a lot of money to cover expenses and costs for the program. But we also want to raise awareness about this issue and get more people to help out.”

Reitz said Moody and Simien are currently working on drafting some of their former teammates and other KU greats to play in the tournament.

“It can be tough to get people to come out in September because a lot of my former teammates are playing professionally,” Simien said. “But hopefully we can get some people to come out.”

A silent and live auction will be held at Maceli’s the night before the tournament.

“We’re doing it a little differently,” Reitz said. “Most people have an auction after the tournament, but we’re going to have it the night before. We’re hoping to attract not just people who play golf, but a lot of other people. You can get tickets to the auction separately.”

Some of the auction items include KU basketball tickets, an autographed KU basketball, club level tickets and a parking pass for the Kansas-Missouri football game, a night at the new Oread Inn and golf gear.

The top items to be auctioned will be will be a basketball clinic with Simien and Moody for 10 youths and a 20-person dinner with former KU football coach Don Fambrough at Lawrence Country Club the night before the KU-Missouri game.

Those interested in playing in the tournament or donating an item for the auction should contact Reitz at (785) 331-5024.


Joe Baker 10 years, 6 months ago

I think this is truly giving back to your community and investing in people. It's also a long-term commitment, not just throwing money at unfortunate people. I would love for KU to honor Simien's life and contribution to the university by sharing this story at one of the games this year.

RCJH Proud!

hawk316 10 years, 6 months ago

What a great cause! This program offers families down on their luck a real opportunity to get back on their feet. It may become even more important in the days ahead with so many families being impacted by the current economy. Wayne and Christian, good for you! Once again you shine.

KEITHMILES05 10 years, 6 months ago

Anybody who follows KU knows Simien life. What more do you wish to know? Wayne would not want himself put up on a pedastal.

jaybate 10 years, 6 months ago

Gee, this Simien story seems a timely coincidence.

It apparently helps one take one's mind off Buford's reputed OUI.

Frankly, appearing to use Wayne Simien's good work as spin to deflect attention from the Buford story kind of diminishes the impact of the Simien story; that is hardly treating Simien with much respect, is it?

jayhawk02 10 years, 6 months ago

Simien is a true warrior in every sense of the word. He gave it his all on the hardwood, and now he is giving it all to the Lord. Wayne is a class act and is a wonderful representitive of this school/bball program. Thanks Wayne for everything you have done and are currently doing.

Joe Ross 10 years, 6 months ago

...or maybe the LJW was just reporting news, jaybate.

after all, theyve covered simiens ministry events at times OTHER THAN when there was coincidental bad news. something to consider.

murph 10 years, 6 months ago

It's great to hear about yet another good thing that Wayne Simien and Christian Moody - and Mr. Reitz - are doing to help those suffering hard times. Seeing the people who've been idolized turn around and use that attention for something good is always refreshing.

Only the likes of Jaybate can manage to find something negative to say about it. Seriously, Bate, chill. I doubt that Bluford is a big enough name in Jayhawk basketball to need anyone to "deflect attention". It's actually possible that this just happens to be when the word of plans for the golf tournament were released. Quit trying to build windmills so you can tilt at them...

KanKu 10 years, 6 months ago

Props to Simien for giving back to the (Kansas) community and being a devout religious man. I wonder for the life of me, why Wayne doesn't play in the pickup games in the summer. He lives in Lawrence now and seems pretty active with KU. Think about how current players would benefit from his knowledge and skillset. Going up against a former KU All-American and pro player would be great for the team.

Joe Ross 10 years, 6 months ago

why the needless fault-finding, jwliddell. jayhawk02 meant no offense, but you take issue with him so obviously you do. What did he do besides be congratulatory; and if he is guilty of anything then his trangressions (i.e., citing a good example for our youngsters) is certainly not deserving of your sharpness of tooth. i find it difficult to fathom the thought processes of people like you and heterohilfiger. we live in a plural society, yet you have little tolerance for others' beliefs. hetero, is there something sickening about the "lord"?

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