DeKALB – Local business employees bowled for a cause Thursday night, raking in $13,000 for Junior Achievement.
Money was raised during a Bowl-a-Thon event at Mardi Gras Lanes, 1730 Sycamore Road.
IDEAL Industries, Inc. and other businesses raised the money through the event to subsidize costs of running Junior Achievement programs in DeKalb County schools, including Genoa-Kingston, DeKalb and Sycamore.
Junior Achievement is a nonprofit organization that offers classroom lessons on “real life” topics, including business skills and tasks like balancing a checkbook.
Colette Tracy, associate director of operations for Junior Achievement, said some of the bowlers Thursday night spend time in the classrooms teaching lessons about their experiences.
”As soon as I got the taste of what it’s about and what it teaches the kids, I fell in love with the program,” said Jim James, chairman and CEO of IDEAL Industries. “I’ve been able to hear speeches from young men and women that have come through this program and their stories are incredible, about how [Junior Achievement] has helped coach them and guide them to their future careers.”
Tracy said the program gives students an idea of what it’s like to explore the business world.
“Our mission is that we prepare students to compete in a global economy, and I think that’s what we do,” Tracy said. “We bring in professionals to talk about their experiences and careers and it gives kids an idea of what it’s like, for example, we offer job shadowing.
“They’re introduced to these things at a very early age and learn about the business world in general. If we can introduce that to them at an early age, it prepares them and piques their interest.”
Other participating businesses included Sycamore Mfg., SK Hand Tools and Metalloy. Tracy said that DeKalb County area has always been “very community oriented” and supportive.
“IDEAL has always been very involved in the community,” said Glenn Hollister, IDEAL vice president of the safety, health and environmental division. “We support [Junior Achievement] because we see a lot of value in it.”
Junior Achievement is the world’s largest organization that educates students in kindergarten through 12th grade about entrepreneurship, work readiness and financial literacy, according to the organization’s website.
“I’m still amazed at how much these young men and women are not learning in school that is pertinent to everyday life,” James said. “I think Junior Achievement bridges that gap.”
For more information about Junior Achievement, visit juniorachievement.org.