For the first time in its existence, the Junior Achievement of Western New York's biggest annual fundraiser paid a visit to Chautauqua County.
On Saturday, JAWNY brought its 29th annual Bowl-A-Thon to the Jamestown Bowling Company. Participanting bowlers consisted of community members who had raised a minimum of $50 for JA.
According to Laurie Mahoney, president of JAWNY, the event can be considered a momentous occasion for the Buffalo-based organization.
Participating bowlers of the 29th annual Junior Achievement of Western New York Bowl-A-Thon pose for a group photo at Jamestown Bowling Company on Saturday. The event marked the first time that JAWNY has hosted a fundraiser in Chautauqua County.
P-J photo by Gavin Paterniti
"This is the first time that we're having a Bowl-A-Thon in, not only Chautauqua County, but any of our outlying areas. So, to me, this is historic," she said. "And we've been kind of moving toward this, so we created an advisory committee in December (comprised) of local people from the area. And I talked about the Bowl-A-Thon and thought that maybe we would do it in 2014, and they said, 'No, we want to do it this year.'"
The Bowl-A-Thon was sponsored by the Chautauqua County advisory committee, which consists of: Steve Penhollow, Falconer Central School superintendent; Jane Fosberg, retired Falconer Central School superintendent; Deke Kathman, Jamestown Public Schools superintendent; Cathy Moots, JAWNY board member and teacher at Falconer; Mike Metzger, president of Blackstone Manufacturing; and Jim Roach, vice president of Falconer Printing.
Teams of four to six people were formed by the advisory committee members to raise funds and participate in the event. There were also teams representing three area Tops Friendly Markets, a corporation that heavily supports Junior Achievement.
The committee's push for a local Bowl-A-Thon came largely through the efforts of Cathy Moots, who has been involved with Junior Achievement for more than 20 years. Cathy said her goal was to expand Junior Achievement's offerings into other school districts, and hosting a major fundraising event in Chautauqua County seemed like a good place to start.
"The major importance of Junior Achievement is that it connects school to work," said Moots. "And it brings business and community leaders into our classrooms to help students understand their career potentials and financial responsibility. For a long time, my hope was that we would be able to expand into other schools; and now I feel with this advisory committee that was established in December, we will have a better chance of doing that."
The Bowl-A-Thon is the largest fundraiser hosted by Junior Achievement - funding approximately one third of the organization's annual operating budget - according to Tammy Bixby, JAWNY's special events coordinator. In addition to Saturday's event, JAWNY also hosted two Bowl-A-Thon events in Erie County this year. The amount of money raised from last year's Bowl-A-Thon events was $168,000.
The purpose of Junior Achievement is to educate and inspire students to succeed in a global economy. Its programs offer real world education by bringing respected local businessmen and women into the classroom to lead students through several hands-on programs, which explain and explore how a free market economy works.
Currently, Junior Achievement of Western New York is working with 136 school districts, and 12,400 in eight Western New York Counties. Mahoney said that JAWNY has provided services for more than 1,300 Chautauqua County students.
The title sponsor for the Junior Achievement Bowl-A-Thon is the Bank of America. Other sponsors include: Tops Friendly Markets, Tully's Restaurant, Fisher-Price, Perry's Ice Cream, Geico, Wendy's and BlueCross BlueShield.
For more information about Junior Achievement of Western New York, visit www.jawny.org.