Community bowls against bullying

By on February 14, 2014

Photo: Leigh Ann Reusche (left to right), director of Kindness Campaign of Elburn, Renee Dee, founder/CEO of Peak for Kids, and Maria Dripps-Paulson goof around at the “Bowling Against Bullying” event on Saturday night. Photo by Lynn Logan

AURORA—C.J. Conley, a Kaneland parent and Elburn resident, learned a lesson while attending the “Bowling Against Bullying” event on Saturday at Parkside Lanes in Aurora.

That lesson came from Jeff Bean, president and founder of Act on Bullying, who spoke about the cyber bullying epidemic. Conley said she learned not to spy on children but to be involved in what is going on with them.

“I personally think that it starts with the parents,” Conley said. “And parents need to take responsibility and accept that their child might be involved in something that they don’t want to admit. And so, it’s awareness.”

The bowling fundraiser was a collaborative endeavor hosted by the Kindness Campaign, Nick Edward Haben Foundation and Peak for Kids.

“(The event) was a success because our community spoke volumes as far as them supporting the effort and understanding what we’re trying to do,” Peak for Kids founder Renee Dee said. “They all showed up during a snowstorm. Because they didn’t have to do that. And they did.”

Dee said about 175 people attended the event.

Kaneland representatives made an appearance as well, including Superintendent Dr. Jeff Schuler and Kaneland School Board members Peter Lopatin and Tony Valente.

Dee noted that Kaneland School Board President Cheryl Krauspe was at the event in spirit, sponsoring a bowling lane and donating a “Love is Kind” raffle basket.

Event attendees meanwhile played gutter games.

“None of us were great bowlers,” Conley said of her bowling group. “The big challenge was to break 100 in a game. And some of us did. And some of us did not.”

It paid to be “bowling covered.”

“You could purchase gutter insurance,” Conley said. “Because for however many gutterballs you had, you had to pay a dollar at the end of the game. We decided as a group to buy gutter insurance. Thank heavens we did, or we might have had to pay out quite a bit more.”

People didn’t just try their luck at bowling during the event.

“There was some dancing,” Dee said.

Cheese, pepperoni and sausage pizza slices were available for event participants. Music flowed throughout the evening. Trivia centered around bullying, community and kindness topics.

More Peak for Kids events are in the planning process for this year. Some events to expect include a leadership forum, theatre arts performances and a dedicated kickoff to Kindness in Kaneland.

Feb. 7, 2015, will mark the second annual “Bowling Against Bullying” event, where the special guest speaker will be Jarrett Payton, son of the late Chicago Bears legend Walter Payton.

Conley and her husband Ben plan on being there.

“We’ll be there to support,” she said. “I think it’s a great program for the community. I think it brings everybody together. And we’re excited about staying involved.”