With her big heart, big smile, and big aspirations, sixth-grader Tommi Manafort has made quite a difference in the lives of several children with serious medical needs.
Tommi comes from a family of avid motorcycle lovers. Her family owns Powerhouse Motorsports in Plainville, and her father, grandfather, and other family members enjoy participating in motorcycle rides that sponsor causes they care about. One such ride they participate in each year supports Victory Junction Camp, a camp located in North Carolina for children with serious medical issues. The camp provides a fun-filled camp experience while meeting complex medical needs all at no cost to families. Tommi’s grandfather has been on the Board of Directors since the camp’s inception.
Victory Junction Camp was founded by the Petty family of NASCAR fame. Adam Petty, son of NASCAR driver Kyle Petty, was an up-and-coming race car driver with a dream to build this camp after visiting a similar one in Florida. Adam Petty had a passion for racing and for people and could often be found visiting seriously ill children in pediatric wards of hospitals. He wanted to build a place where children with serious illness would be able to experience the joys of childhood and forget about being sick for a while. After Adam’s untimely death in a racing accident at the age of 19, his family made the dream of Victory Junction Camp a reality in his honor.
The Manafort family shares the Petty family passion and participates in a coast-to-coast ride across the country each year raising funds to support Victory Junction. Tommi was inspired by this and wanted to find a way to participate and make a difference herself. Tommi is quite an artist and got to work creating lots of art that she could sell at car shows held at her family’s business. Her mom helped her create an art stand and she was ready to get to work.
Tommi’s mom, Tabitha says, "Tommi handled herself with such poise and compassion when talking to people or giving speeches to the entire event on the microphone. She was even awarded a trophy by the gentleman who runs the car show for her spirit, dedication, and heartfelt kindness.” Tommi raised $10,000, enough to send 4 kids to camp for a week. “We couldn’t be prouder,” says Tabitha. Well Tommi, your teachers and peers here at Renbrook School couldn’t be prouder of you either. Congratulations!