For the third straight year, Demon Deacon supporters will notice a special section of fans behind one of the baskets at the Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
Section 113, right behind the basket above the tunnel where Wake Forest takes the floor, will be reserved for underprivileged youth groups from the surrounding community.
Tim Welborn (’90) has sponsored that section as part of his contribution to Wake Forest Athletics and will do so again for all 14 home basketball games in the 2019-20 season.
That sponsorship means Welborn will donate tickets, Demon Deacon shirts, and meal vouchers to allow underprivileged youth to fill the section behind the basketball and cheer on the Demon Deacons.
“You can tell the kids really, really appreciate it,” Welborn said. “The youth leaders feel like it’s a great piece to the puzzle to encourage these kids to do well and that somebody cares enough about them to allow them to go to a Wake Forest basketball game.”
Welborn, a member of the Volunteer Army and the Game Day Experience Committee, has been an integral part of the Deacon Club’s outreach efforts for much longer than three years. After becoming involved with the Deacon Club about 15 years ago, Welborn saw a need to provide youth in the area with the chance to be involved with Division I sports – particularly those who might not have the opportunity to do so otherwise.
Welborn donated Wake Forest football tickets for dozens of underprivileged youth in the community, along with food and drink for games. He still offers up those tickets to groups for football season, even after sponsoring section 113, and serves as an ambassador for Wake Forest throughout the Triad.
“I feel like it’s a great return on my donation – for those kids, for the youth programs they’re involved with, and even for the University. You see those kids loving life, appreciative, and excited to be there. It’s just a win-win situation.”
Art Blevins, former director of the Hanes Hosiery Recreation Center in Winston-Salem, would agree. Blevins worked in recreation for nearly 40 years until his retirement in 2017, and groups at Hanes Hosiery continue to be regulars at Wake Forest games, even after he stepped away from the program.
Blevins brought a group to BB&T Field for Wake Forest’s matchup with Florida State just more than a week ago, and his groups are now regulars in section 113 at LJVM.
“For the kids, it’s an experience they’ll never forget,” Blevins said. “They still talk about some of the games – when I was still working, I would take pictures and put them up on the wall and kids would come up and stare at them for five or ten minutes at a time.”
Blevins was unaware that Welborn was also going to be featured for this story – but brought up his significant contributions anyway.
“He’s been awesome,” Blevins said. “The kids are able to get food, shirts, and sit in a section where we would never normally if we had not received the kind of blessings we have received from him and Wake Forest.”
The Hanes Hosiery Recreation Center and Blevins are far from the only groups to benefit from these contributions – and Welborn is not the only one who gives back to Wake Forest in this way.
Prior to the 2019 football season, Wake Forest debuted its Football Ambassador Program, which serves as a call to action for Wake Forest football fans to invite new fans to cheer on the Demon Deacons at BB&T Field, especially those who may not otherwise be able to do so.
Other members of the Deacon Club have already purchased bulk tickets for groups to use at Wake Forest football games, and while Welborn’s donation to basketball is unique, he regularly encourages others to get involved.
“I feel like a Wake Forest missionary,” Wellborn said. “I tell people that by supporting Wake Forest and supporting the athletic department, I think you’re really supporting Winston-Salem and supporting the Triad. And people should take pride in that.”
For more information regarding becoming an ambassador for the football or basketball programs, or to purchase tickets for a group, please contact our Sales team at (336) 758-3322 ext. 1 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.