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  • Megann Horstead

Bowling fundraiser benefits District 843 programs


The lights are turned down low and the bowling alley is buzzing from wall to wall, as last calls are made for anyone seeking to participate in the raffle prize drawing. The afternoon soon sped into action with bites of pizza and sips of pop/water between several games of bowling.

The afternoon of March 3 marked the Lincoln-Way Area Special Education Joint Agreement Foundation’s second annual Strike it Up fundraiser. The event, held at Thunder Bowl Mokena, was designed to be family-oriented and fun.

“This is the big one,” Ken Buck, president of the Lincoln-Way Area Special Education Joint Agreement Foundation, referring to non-profit organization’s fundraisers. The foundation has a 50/50 raffle they conduct every year around the holiday season and used to hold a fashion show.

All funds they raised throughout this event will be used to support teachers and administrative staff in the Lincoln-Way area. Funds can be requested through a grant the foundation extends.

“We take all the sheets and all the requests and we go through them,” Buck said. “We’ll offer money to those teachers or programs that need extra funds.”

In the past, the grant has provided teachers with funding to bring in reptile wranglers to supplement classroom instruction, purchase sensory materials to support students with sensory needs, and plants to support instruction in the sciences.

Typically, Strike it Up raises between $7,000 and $9,000.

“It’s not a huge amount, but it’s enough to help us support the cooperatives’ needs through the extracurricular activities,” Buck said. “It’s been very rewarding helping staff to get things done that otherwise wouldn’t have gotten done.”

The foundation had door prizes for those on hand for the fundraiser, as well as raffle baskets, a split the pot for 50/50 and a gift card wall.

“We’ve had businesses that donated raffle baskets,” Buck said. “Some staff members pitched in and bought some things for baskets. So, it’s a combination.”

Approximately 85 people came out to show support for the Lincoln-Way Area Special Education Joint Agreement Foundation’s fundraiser.

“Last year was our first year, and everybody was like, ‘Oh, sign me up next year. I’ll come back,’” said Tracey Lesh, one of the directors for the Lincoln-Way Area Special Education Joint Agreement Foundation, referring to the excitement people have demonstrated for this year’s fundraiser.

Buck agreed.

“It’s a lot of staff and families,” he said. “It’s a family-oriented [event] to have all the families together on an afternoon. [It’s] something that everybody can do together, basically. If you did certain [events,] some families might not like fashion shows [and] some aren’t comfortable [with that,] but bowling seems to [bring everyone together.] So, that’s the good thing about it.”

Lane sponsors during the fundraiser included Flying High Sports & Rec Center, Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network, Treasured Smiles Pediatric Dentistry, Lincoln-Way Special Education Association, Tara Moustis, Gina’s TearDrop Café, Paul A. Panzica—Forefront Adult & Pediatric Care, Witkowski Dental, Tia Triezenberg—Century 21, Jim Moustis—Will County Board District 2, and Gavin Michael Quinlan—DUP 15Q Alliance.

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