JACKSON — Every year, "What's So Great About the Garden State" brings you up to date on the progress of the James Volpe Foundation, named for a Jackson Memorial High School senior who was killed in a car crash in 2011. The foundation's yearly golf event is switching venues again in 2018, to appeal to a base of donors across Monmouth and Ocean counties.

Yet that may not be the most significant development within the organization. Vice president and co-chairperson John Mucia Jr. said a portion of the group's proceeds will be earmarked for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, potentially expanding their reach beyond the upper Jersey Shore area.

Other monies, as always, go toward two scholarships each for students at Jackson Memorial and Jackson Liberty high schools, as well as another scholarship at Kean University, where Volpe had planned to attend. And there remains an ongoing commitment to helping children who are sick or food insecure, or cannot afford adequate equipment to play youth sports.

For Mucia, all of those diverse causes are worthy ways to give back to the extended community that rallied together after Volpe's death.

"You know, no matter how they do it or what they do, or how much anybody gives us, everything is always thoroughly appreciated," Mucia said. "We do do the right things with all of the money, and we're really, really proud of what we have here."

The foundation has already held its first major fundraiser of the year, the third annual Winter Dinner Dance, and is preparing for its flagship event, the eighth edition of the Wiffle Ball Tournament, sometime in August.

And instead of Jackson or Marlboro, where previous golf outings have been held, the 2018 James Volpe Foundation Golf Classic will be in Lakewood, at Eagle Ridge Golf Club, on Monday, May 7. It'll be the seventh year of that event, this time a morning competition concluding with a barbecue lunch, rather than an afternoon tilt followed by dinner.

For more, visit jamesvolpefoundation.org, and check out our prior coverage of the Golf Classic from 2016 and 2017.

Patrick Lavery produces "New Jersey's First News" and is New Jersey 101.5's morning drive breaking news reporter. Follow him on Twitter @plavery1015 or email patrick.lavery@townsquaremedia.com.

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