by Valerie Boateng
Coshocton, OH— I support my fair share of causes in the community.
When the firefighters are collecting money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, I slip a donation into a boot. Why? Because my cousin, the late Jeff Fortney, had the disease.
When the Alzheimer's Association sells tickets for a quilt raffle, collects money at a toll road or if someone asks for a donation because they're taking part in the annual awareness walk, I usually give. Why? Because my grandmother, the late Lillian Parks, had the disease.
Same goes with the American Cancer Society because my late grandmother, Gaynelle Grace, had it. The Spina Bifida Association — because my cousin, Hunter Holbrook, amazes us every day.
Then there are other causes that I support because, frankly, they're good causes and partly because they impact my life in some way. There's the day care center's flower sales, school frozen food sales, wrestling and basketball clothing sales, football discount card sales, the United Way and countless other fundraisers.
The Mentoring Center of Coshocton County has been one cause I've supported in some way through the years with no direct connection that I can think of. I just thought it was a good cause. Whether buying a cheese basket or donating or bowling during their Bowling for Kids fundraiser, I've helped out.
This year is different. Since this past summer when the mentoring center opened up its activities to children in the community not matched up or waiting for a Big, my boys have been taking part. They are now known as Little Buddies.
The boys love getting to hang out with other kids their age to just have fun. They've taken part in activities where they've created artwork and musical instruments, painted pumpkins for Halloween, and just last month participated in indoor Olympic-style games in the center's new office space at 410 Main St., above Goldens clothing store.
I've joined a team again this year to bowl and the Tribune has jumped on board as a corporate sponsor of the event along with AEP, RockTenn, the U.S. Postal Service-Coshocton, Coshocton Elks Lodge 376 and Coshocton Bowling Lanes, and presenting sponsor Kraft Foods.
This year's theme, "Banking on the Future of Children," is meant to emphasize the importance of building a solid foundation for children. Half of the agency's annual budget is supported by this major fundraiser. They've been frugal with the dollars they're allotted. They've moved locations to cut down on rent. They've made the director's position a contracted position to cut down on payroll expenses. They've thought of inexpensive ways to host events for their Bigs and Littles.
Joining a team means I'm committed to raising as much money as I can for the agency. My children have even donated. In February, they donated change earned for doing house chores and money received in cards for Valentine's Day to a Pennies for Patients collection at their school. I can tell them "no" to a lot of things they want to spend their money on, but it's hard to tell them "no" when they want to help others.
When they came home with a bag full of change from their piggy banks at Grandma and Grandpa's house last week, they were vocal about all of the things they wanted to buy. I told them about the Bowling for Kids fundraiser and how the money raised allows them to have fun activities at The Mentoring Center, and they agreed to hand over their coins for the cause.
If you want to help The Mentoring Center with their fundraising effort, there's still time to help. Call the office at (740) 623-8110 and ask for a team packet. Each team member is asked to raise $50 and it will take no time at all when you ask a few friends and neighbors to donate what they can; $5 a person adds up quick.
And for my shameless plug, if you want to donate but don't want to create a team, you can support my team with a contribution. I take to the lane at 1 p.m. Friday, so you have until 12:59 p.m. to get me your pledge.