Tebow cuts ribbon on first Timmy's Playroom

Published On: Mar 15 2012 06:46:36 PM EDT   Updated On: Mar 16 2012 12:02:53 AM EDT
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow was back in his hometown Thursday for the official opening of his foundations first Timmy's Playroom.

The center, opening in partnership with Dreams Come True, fulfills the dreams of children with life-threatening conditions who live or receive treatment in Northeast Florida or Southeast Georgia.

Tebow, former quarterback at the University of Florida, has supported the nonprofit Dreams Come True since he played at Florida.

Tebow said when he became a professional he was given advice to limit his charitable work to a few specific causes.

"Why? We just want to help people," Tebow said.

Dreams Come True said they couldn't be happier that Tebow's first playroom is in his hometown.

"With us being 100 percent local and him being the local, homegrown hero, it's a great mix," said Jimmy Kelly, executive director of Dreams Come True.

Timmy's Playrooms are part of the outreach by the Tim Tebow Foundation, whose mission is "to bring faith, hope and love to those needing a brighter day in their darkest hour of need." 

Tebow hopes there will be 18 similar playrooms this year -- including one at Shands at the University of Florida -- and ultimately dozens more around the world.

Reporters covering the event were asked not to ask about football during the ribbon cutting because it didn't want Tebow's career to override the Heisman Trophy winner's philanthropic work.

"There are too many football items going on and we don't want those issues to become the story instead of the philanthropic work," said the invitation.

Thursday evening, Tebow was to headline a fundraising event at Christ Church Academy in Mandarin.  The church said money raised from the sold-out event would be used to fund the school's academics, athletics and arts.