The Higher Calling Youth Wrestling Club of Cleveland received a major boost of support this week from the Allan Jones Foundation.
Josh Bosken, head coach of Higher Calling, announced that his club received a check from the Jones Foundation for $16,983. The donation was a match to funds the club had raised earlier in the year.
“This week’s matching donation brings the total given by the Allan Jones Foundation to our club this year to $106,000,” said Mr. Bosken. “Thanks to the Foundation, I’m proud to say that we are the best-funded kids wrestling club in the United States!”
Higher Calling is a wrestling program that gives young wrestlers of all skill levels, grades K through 8, a chance to learn the essentials of practice and competition. The goal of the program is to train and maintain the highest-quality athletes to help continue the finest wrestling program in Tennessee.
The Foundation requires the club’s members to earn money themselves, which is later matched dollar-for-dollar. Along with the check for $16,983 this week, the foundation endowed $90,000 to Higher Calling in 2017 through the Cleveland-Bradley County Community Foundation.
Higher Calling received national attention in April when the Allan Jones Foundation auctioned off a King Ranch F-150 4X4 pickup autographed twice by President George W. Bush. The majority of the proceeds from the auction went to Higher Calling.
J. Bailey Jones, vice president at Jones Management Services and a representative of the Foundation, was a 2010 160 lb. Division 1 State Champion. He set the all-time record with 125 takedowns in the Greater Chattanooga Area that stood until 2012 when another Cleveland wrestler, 4-time state champion Chris DeBien, broke it with 134 takedowns.
“Our donation to Higher Calling along with the club’s own fundraising efforts, make it the highest funded kids club in the county,” said Mr. Jones. “We give the club the challenge to raise money on their own and we are always ready to double what they raise.”
Mr. Jones noted that last year at the state championships, Higher Calling more than doubled the score of the team that was runner-up and the club’s wrestlers have won state championships numerous times.
Mr. Bosken said, “The Allan Jones Foundation allows me to work full-time, year-round. If anyone reading this wants their son to be a state champion, it can almost be guaranteed if you start in Higher Calling.”
Mr. Bosken said winning is a three-pronged approach.
“It includes the high school head coach, the middle school head coach, and the kids club coach,” said Mr. Bosken. “The kids club coach is the most important, because the coach is the one who gets the kids interested and teaches them about the joy of winning.”
Mr. Bosken offered a special thanks to the foundation and to the Jones companies like Check Into Cash that have supported the club through the years.
“The Jones companies have done more for these kids than we ever thought possible,” Mr. Bosken said. “Allan Jones has said many times that Higher Calling is important because the wrestlers develop a love for the sport and build a strong work ethic that will carry them through life. He also appreciates that we strive to teach young athletes moral character and good sportsmanship. Winning starts at this level.”
Toby Pendergrass, director of the Jones Foundation, agreed with Mr. Bosken.
“If there is a state championship won in wrestling, the Allan Jones Foundation wants it to be one of our three schools – and it all starts with the Kids Club,” said Mr. Pendergrass.