In partnership with Friendship House Fayetteville and ServiceSource, the SwampDogs hosted their annual Balls and Strikes Bowling Classic Sunday afternoon.
With more than 160 fans, players and coaches taking part in the fun at B & B Bowling Lanes, the SwampDogs helped raise over $3,500 for Friendship House Fayetteville.
"It's a great opportunity not only for our players to get out in the community, but for the community to come together and bowl for a great cause," said Erica Brochu, the SwampDogs' Social Media and Events Coordinator.
Friendship House Fayetteville, which falls under the scope of the larger ServiceSource organization, provides comfortable and affordable housing for young adults with intellectual disabilities and students on track to become health care professionals. With a three-building, six-unit campus currently under construction, Friendship House Fayetteville will soon be the fifth such space in existence, said Dr. Scott Cameron, a practicing physician and Advisory Board Member and Resident Director for Friendship House Fayetteville.
By placing three medical students and one "friend" – a young adult with intellectual disabilities – together in each apartment, the organization strives to benefit everyone involved, Cameron said. He first got involved with Friendship House as a tenant while studying at Duke University Divinity School and quickly realized the benefits that the Friendship House model could have on medical students as well, he said.
"Living with young adults with disabilities…changes how you see yourself and it changes how you see folks with disabilities," Cameron said. "You realize that they have certain traits, like unconditional love, an unfailing trust, patience…Things that we think that we have that we really are not very good at, they model."
For the SwampDogs, who have always had a strong relationship with Special Olympics and other organizations that support those with intellectual disabilities, partnering with ServiceSource and Friendship House Fayetteville was an easy fit.
"This charity is near and dear to our heart, because it supports special needs kids," said Lew Handelsman, the SwampDogs' owner and Instigator of Fun. "The community comes out and supports it, [and] our players have a good time every year."
In addition to the good times had at the lanes, the fundraiser also included a silent auction full of exciting prizes donated by local businesses. The SwampDogs' efforts not only created a fun-filled afternoon but also had a tremendous impact, said Tara Hinton, Community Relations and Development Manager at ServiceSource North Carolina.
"The SwampDogs have been instrumental in being a part of the community, promoting inclusion just like we are trying to do at ServiceSource," said Hinton, who has had a relationship with the SwampDogs for several years. "We just appreciate all that they do for so many here in Fayetteville."
For SwampDogs players and staff, it was another day in a summer full of impactful and enjoyable experiences.
"It's just giving back and having a lot of fun doing it," Brochu said.
After their stint at the bowling alley, the SwampDogs return to the field Tuesday night for Christmas in July at The Swamp! Support children in the Fayetteville community by donating any unopened toys at the ballpark!