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Fundraising in the Dark: Royal Oak Youth Assistance Rocks the Blackout

RenUnity_chopra_topFundraising in the Dark: Royal MBREW draft oneOak Youth Assistance Rocks the Blackout

(Crystal A. Proxmire, March 1, 2015)

For an organization that helps illuminate a path for troubled young people, the skill of navigating life’s challenges is like second nature. So when volunteers from Royal Oak Youth Assistance showed up at Hazel Park Bowl to run the group’s biggest annual fundraiser, and they found that the power was out, they did not let it dim their good times.

The Bowl-a-Thon is the only fundraiser of the year for ROYA; it usually raises about $20,000 to send local kids to camp and pay for activities scholarships. “It’s a big deal for us,” said event steele lindbloom adco-chair Candi Drouillard, “so it was aerobic when we arrived to find the bowling alley, like much of Hazel Park, without electricity.”  DTE reported an equipment failure in the area, and thousands of people spent Sunday in the dark.

Yet still they made it work. Registration and auction items were set up in the only room with natural light. Volunteers sold 50/50 tickets, auctioned off over 30 donated items, and collected donations. Hazel Park Bowl gave each bowler a voucher for two games at a later date and figured out how to sell beer in the dark. Cookies donated by Shelby Siwa and Jerome Crawford and were thoroughly enjoyed, along with pizza.

And the participants? They lit up their smart phones, socialized and laughed in the dark, bought tickets, won prizes, and had a wonderful time.

“It was a lot of fun,” said ROYA chair Shelly Kemp. “We had everything but the bowling. The best part is that our supporters donated just as they have for the last 33 years. We have such Red Door Realty Ad _own_your_dreamgreat support in the Royal Oak community – we always knew it wasn’t about the bowling!”

Among the volunteers were Shelly Kemp, Christine Chubenko, Candi Drouillard, Kate Guest, Sam Lynch, Julie Semivan, Judy Davids, Paula Dirkes, Dayle Prinstein, Miles Filippis, Jacob Cobb, and Drew Heenan. In addition to the black out, Tammy Ristau survived a computer crash yesterday yet still was able to come make the event memorable.

The final take for the event? “$22,682! That’s a lot of kids going to camp,” said event co-chair Christine Chubenko.

Learn more about Royal Oak Youth Assistance on their Facebook page at

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