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For today’s high school student-athletes, whether it’s going to camps and showcases, going to unofficial and official visits, or going to study for and take admissions tests, preparing for the next level requires more effort – and funding – than ever. So we at Valdosta Toyota are partnering with our local high school athletic programs to help these student-athletes get to the places they are trying to go. We have dedicated the necessary funding to assist these student-athletes, their coaches, and their families pay for expenses like travel, food, fees, and more.
With more than ever being demanded of these young men and women, the Valdosta Toyota Going Places Program is supplying the means to pursue their aspirations, whatever they may be, and wherever they may go.
At Valdosta Toyota, we believe in being embedded and invested in our surrounding community. We diligently search for opportunities to give back to the people, businesses, and causes that are near and dear to our – and our customers’ – hearts. One area in particular that we make a concerted effort to be present and supportive within is high school athletics. In Lowndes County and South Georgia at large, high school athletics are a key component of our culture. These sports are not merely extracurricular activities; they are vehicles for character development and opportunity generation. For the driven student-athlete, their sport could be their ticket to college. In college, they can continue their education and personal growth, all culminating in being better prepared for life after of sports, whenever that day comes.
So we at Valdosta Toyota believe that an investment into high school athletics is truly just investment into high school student-athletes. With the hundreds of thousands of dollars that we have donated to our local schools and athletic programs over the years, we believe that we aren’t supporting games… we are supporting growth. We fund with these programs as a way of partnering in the development of young boys and girls into mature men and women that pursue excellence in the classroom, in the home, in the game, and in the community. And we continue to double down on that being money well spent.
Despite our extensive history of partnering with our local high school athletic programs, in the summer of 2022, new Lowndes High School head football coach Zach Grage brought a new need to our attention: the ever-increasing expense of getting his players the necessary preparation and exposure in college recruitment. While recruiting has been around for decades, modern recruiting has become a more involved and intense process than ever. As if training, practices, and games aren’t enough, there is now an expectation of camps, showcases, visits, admissions test prep/taking, and more. Between the constant travel, food, and fees for 100+ players and coaches, the financial burden was becoming immense. Now understanding the problem, we came up with the solution: the Going Places Program, where these expenses can be paid in full.
Funding is based on need and availability, as negotiated by program coaches, their supporting entities (like Touchdown Clubs, Dugout Clubs, etc), and school administrators with Valdosta Toyota Management. Once we come to an agreement (typically in an exchange for advertising value), the funds are issued directly to the program (and/or its supporting entity), which are then managed/dispersed directly by that existing leadership structure. The particulars of this arrangement depend on the involved parties and negotiated structure, but this typically entails a tandem effort between the coaching staff and their supporting entity. After reaching the initial agreement to supply the funds, Valdosta Toyota maintains no involvement in the allocation or management of the funds, instead trusting that the coaches, staff, and administration will disperse and deploy the funds in the best interest of the student-athletes and program.
Though the impetus of this idea was supporting this specific need for the Lowndes football program, we launched the Going Places Program in hopes of expanding it to every sport and every school that has the need in our local area. Our intent is to include as many student-athletes as possible while also acknowledging that our funding capacity is not unlimited. So while the program is being piloted with Lowndes football in the 2022 school year, we expect to expand its reach in 2023.
Want your school/sport to be considered for future seasons? Have your coaches and/or leadership reach out to Cole Parker, Marketing Director and Program Coordinator at Valdosta Toyota, to discuss your program’s candidacy.