August 17, 2017
Ella Jones wants nothing more than to strap on her shin guards, lace up her cleats and run the soccer ball up and down the field.
The 11-year-old started playing soccer in kindergarten and has since grown to love the sport. The competitive spirit and comradery among teammates keeps her coming back to the field each year.
“When you see your kids have a passion for something, you grow a passion for it too,” said Ella’s mom, Heather Jones. “Team sports and athletics are one really good avenue to teach life skills. Ella has learned to work together, plan and execute. No one person on a team makes it or breaks it. I think that has been huge for her and great for all kids to learn.”
So when Heather and her husband, Karl, learned of an opportunity to create a soccer academy with Sanford POWER to support young athletes, Heather said the decision to give back was easy.
As owners of a local business, City Air Mechanical, Inc., Karl and Heather know the importance of supporting their community. They created a $100,000 endowment to support the Sanford POWER City Air Mechanical Soccer Academy.
The performance training program will help local kids enhance athletic skill, build character and develop soccer techniques. The year-round program will be available to players ages 8 and older and help every athlete achieve personal performance goals.
With long North Dakota winters, the Joneses especially saw the need to give young soccer players the chance to practice all year long.
“The idea of indoor turf is an amazing thing for this sport,” Heather said. “Outdoor sports are so limited here. To be able to partner with Sanford and make this a reality is pretty important for the sport of soccer and the kids like Ella who love it.”
This fall, POWER will move to a larger facility, the former Home Depot, allowing for the expansion of existing training programs and the creation of new sports academies like this one. The new space is nearly three times larger than the current POWER location, and it will allow the program to continue expanding its services and positively influencing the lives of a greater number of kids.
The Joneses hope that having more opportunities for youth development will add to the long list of reasons for families to call Bismarck home.
“Bismarck is a wonderful place to live and grow and for children to be raised,” Heather said. “The mission of our community is to make Bismarck a destination. We need good people to move here, work here and live here.”
The Joneses have long supported the Sanford Health Foundation and the family’s passion for children has always been evident in their giving. They also created the Heather and Karl Jones Endowment for Sanford Children’s, pledging $100,000 to support the greatest areas of need in pediatrics.
“You don’t want anyone to be sick, but it’s even more heartwrenching to hear stories about kids,” Heather said. “Anything we can do to help make their lives a little bit easier, we want to do.”
Considering joining the Jones family in supporting local kids today.