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Bowling for jobs

Fundraiser helps keep employment service alive

Posted: February 24, 2009 1:20 a.m.
Updated: February 24, 2009 4:55 a.m.

A line of bowlers enjoy a family evening Saturday at the Pleasantview Industries bowling fundraiser at Valencia Lanes.

 
Santa Clarita Valley residents bowled along side the developmentally disabled in the packed Valencia Lanes in Newhall Saturday night to raise funds for a disabled worker employment program facing future budget cuts.

"I bowled a strike!" said Beverly Cates, a disabled participant of Pleasantview Industries, Inc., the Saugus organization that helped place her in a job at a McDonald's in Stevenson Ranch while providing job coaching.

Cates and the other participants that would benefit from that organization's 10th annual Tournament and fund raiser that night shared two lanes.

Eddy LeGault, one of her peers at Pleasantview, also cheered as he bowled a strike of his own. He was a stickler when it came to his score.

"Not too good in this game," said LeGault, who Pleasantview staff said once made a perfect score of 300 in the league play. "I hope I pull better in the next few games."

The bowling alley was filled lane-to-lane with the program's disabled participants and Valencia Lanes' league bowlers who attended the event to support the organization and to try to win one to three top places for cash prizes.

Pleasantview also hosted a raffle that would send the winner home with half of the raffle proceeds and offered various prizes and giveaways such as gift baskets and gift certificates good at local restaurants.

Linda McDonald, who bowls with the Vegas Aces league on Wednesday nights, bought 10 tickets for the "50-50" raffle and signed up to bowl for the cause months ago.

"Pleasantview has a very good reputation," McDonald, of Castaic, said. "I know they train people to do jobs and they need the money. So, why not do something like this that we love to do and help them at the same time?"

Debbie Clinkscales, who bowls in the same league, said she attends the event every year.

"It's a lot of fun to bowl and see people that you haven't seen in a long time and to meet friends," Clinkscales said. "Of course, the number-one thing is the charity. That's what it's all about. It helps the kids, the financial situation, everything all around."

During a year of economic instability, Pleasantview officials welcome all the financial help they can get, said Executive Director Gerry Howard.

"Currently, with the cuts that we receive and know that we're receiving, it's about $30,000 (in cuts), which is a chunk out of our budget," said Howard, who added that Pleasantview's primary funder is the state's Department of Developmental Services.

"(With the fundraiser) we're going to hopefully be able to keep staff at the current levels. That's always our biggest concern."

Pleasantview provides job training, coaching and placement for the developmentally disabled at its work services facility and at off-site participating businesses for 40 years, Howard said.

"Our mission has remained the same," he said. "We're trying to provide a chance for people to earn a paycheck (and) hold a job in the community if they want to."

Pleasantview Industries staff members said the event allowed the organization to continue its mission and gave its participants a fun night out.

Jennifer Zimmerman, the organization's supported employment coordinator, said the disabled workers love bowling.

"They always have a good time, and they're really good at it," she said. "They remember their scores and they remember their games."

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