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Scheduled for Monday, May 9 at the Manteca Park Golf Course, it’s the second annual Tee-Off for Travis Memorial Golf Tournament. Named in honor of Travis Lopez, a 2000 Escalon High School graduate who passed away in late May of 2020, the event benefits the World Changer Scholarship, a fund that Travis founded specifically for students at San Jose State University. Manteca Park Golf Course is at 305 N. Union Road, Manteca.

Registration starts at 11 a.m. and the scramble format golf tournament itself begins with a shotgun start at 12:30 p.m.

The tournament ends between 5 and 5:30 p.m., with food and drinks at the clubhouse following the conclusion of the competition. There will be raffle prizes, silent auction items and updates on the World Changer scholarship program.

Last year was the inaugural tournament and Travis’s stepmother, Robin Lopez of Tracy, said it exceeded all expectations.

“We thought as long as we don’t lose money,” she said of going into the first event without knowing what to expect. “Our goal was $5,000 and we raised $20,000 in the first year. We had 122 golfers.”

After Travis passed, his family and friends wanted to do something to keep his World Changer scholarship going and Robin said it was several of his high school friends that suggested the golf tournament.

“He passed away after years of struggling with mental illness,” Robin explained. “He was an EHS graduate in 2000 and he would have turned 40 this year. We’re approaching the two-year anniversary (of his passing) and May is Mental Illness Awareness Month. People with mental illness, many don’t look sick, but they need help, they need counseling.”

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Non-profit organizations partnering with the Lopez family that will be represented at the tournament include McHenry House Tracy Family Shelter; NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness; and Tracy Interfaith Ministries.

“This is a fun way to raise money for the scholarship fund,” Robin added. “It’s an 18-hole course, we have room for a few more golfers and they can register online.”

People can also go online to make a donation and everyone, whether they participate in the tournament or not, are welcome to attend the after-tourney gathering in the clubhouse for the party, raffle and auction.

“Last year was just a huge success,” Robin said, noting that the family was overwhelmed and appreciative of the support.

Robin and Ray, Travis’s father, live in Tracy and his mother, Teri Stuart, lives in Escalon. Travis was the middle of three Lopez children, with an older brother Tony living in Washington State and younger sister Taylor living in Denair.

Robin previously worked with the Tracy Chamber of Commerce and said she had helped out with golf tournaments in conjunction with that organization, so she was comfortable with helping to pull the Tee-Off for Travis event together. At press time, they had 116 golfers registered for the tournament this year.

“We also have a ton of raffle prizes donated; the outpouring of support has been tremendous,” added Robin.

The first World Changer scholarship as a result of the tournament was presented in April and was a $2,500 award. Criteria, said Robin, includes being a student in good standing at San Jose State University and proposing an idea that “can change the world.”

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This year’s recipient suggested the idea that all school teachers and counselors should have coursework in mental illness, to be able to better intervene on behalf of their students.

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“He established the scholarship in 2013, he was so into school when he went back, he graduated with honors,” Robin said of Travis graduating from San Jose State after having gone to college, taking a break, and then returning. “He decided he wanted to establish a scholarship for those that think outside the box, promote innovative social ideas, showing their creativity and innovation.”

Prior to his passing, Travis awarded at least two World Change scholarships himself, said Robin, and the family wants to keep that legacy going.

For additional information about the tournament, sponsorship opportunities, or donating to the World Changer scholarship fund, contact [email protected]

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