I’ve written about everything that Bona Vista Programs has going on in March. I hope you wrote down all of the dates. If not, find last week’s paper and do that now. This week, I want to break something down for you a little deeper. What’s that? The Disability Awareness Basketball Game that will take place on Wednesday, March 22 at 5:30p at Memorial Gym in Kokomo.
What could there possibly be to break down about a basketball game, you might be asking yourself? You have two teams that play four quarters, they get a break in the middle (it’s called halftime, technically) and the team who scores the most points wins. Seems easy enough, right? Well, this game includes all of those aspects, and SO MANY MORE!
This year’s event marks the 16th of its kind for Bona Vista, and we are changing it up just a little. If you’re friends with us on Facebook, you may have noticed that we went “live” on a few days drafting our players. I mean, that’s what they do in the pros so it just seemed like a natural fit for our players. We sought little input from the celebrity team coaches Chad McCarter (Kokomo Perspective) and Steve Geiselman (City of Kokomo Development Dept.) before we went rogue about town, but I’m sure they will be pleased with their team.
Recruiting a team is the easiest part of the event. Everyone wants to play. There have been at least 50 different “Celebrities” since the beginning (that we could recall). And, I don’t blame them. It’s so much fun. However, we have to try to keep the team size fairly limited so people actually get a chance to play. This year’s team includes: Jessica Green (Z92.5, Rock 98.5, WIOU 1350), Ryan Smalley (Kokomo Fire Department Local Union 396), Tom Hughes (Maple Crest Middle School), Sean Cameron (Acacia Academy/Kokomo Herald), Brian Pier (Walgreens), Bart Irwin (Community First Bank), Troy Stiner (Eriks Chevrolet), Jason Snyder (Kokomo High School), Kevin Sprinkle (Select Equipment Services), Brad Conwell (Expressions), Rodney Ogle (Kokomo Tribune), Torrey Roe (City of Kokomo Parks Dept.) and Mark Jansen (Jansen’s Tax Service and Asphalt).
We also asked this year’s team to go above and beyond their normal role on the team. We’ve asked each player to solicit donations and try to raise the most amount of money on their team. We’ve promised the top fundraiser a “fabulous” prize that they will receive during halftime of the game on March 22. All proceeds go directly back to the programs and the people we serve at Bona Vista!
Want to help one of the players I listed earlier to be the top fundraiser? Go to bonavista.org, and click on Donate. Fill out all of the information on our safe and secure web site, and then in the Comments box type the name of the player you wish to support. We will track all donations through the web site, and announce the winner during halftime. If you’re not comfortable making donations online, they can also be mailed or dropped off to Bona Vista Programs, c/o Alison Brantley, PO Box 2496, Kokomo, IN 46904-2496 with the player’s name in the check memo.
So who do the celebrities play? An amazing group of Bona Vista persons served and staff! That’s right. We are bringing in some ringers. Not really, but that’s only because this team doesn’t need the extra help. Some of the Bona Vista players already play on really good teams for Special Olympics, and have played in this event for a number of years. They look forward to it as much (if not more) than we do! Donta Rogers (Carver Community Center) is the coach of the All-Stars, and has been since the beginning. You’ll have to ask him what his winning percentage is for sure, but I can tell you the Celebrities haven’t won in the past 7 years (if they have ever won at all).
This event was never originally intended to be a fundraiser for Bona Vista. It has been about raising awareness. And, we are still doing that. But, why not try to support the people we serve by generating a little money at the same time? That’s why this year, the challenge is on. For the past 16 years, we’ve collected donations at the door (because admission is FREE). All told, the door collections have raised about $5,000 total over the past 16 years. This year, the goal is at least $10,000 – between sponsorships, the door collection and the Celebrity challenge. What do you think? Can we get there? Will you help?
Make sure to mark your calendar for Wednesday, March 22. The event will kick off at Memorial Gym with a proclamation from Mayor Greg Goodnight, members of the Mayor’s Council for Disability Issues and National Anthem. Tip off will be at 5:30p. There will be entertainment from local dance and cheer groups in between each quarter and at halftime, crowd participation games, concession stand goodies (with guest appearances from some of our Bona Vista Bistro group) and so much more. The event is FREE admission. So, bring your family, your Scout troops, your sports teams and help them learn about disability awareness, inclusion and sportsmanship all for a good cause.
If you have any questions or would like find out how you can get involved, feel free to call me at 765-457-8273 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until next time… keep a good view on life!