YES Fund awards grant to Illinois school

ARLINGTON, Texas - Abingdon High School in Abingdon, Ill., has been selected to receive a $2,500 grant through the Youth Education Services (YES) Fund High School Grant Program.

After more than a 15-year absence, Abingdon revived its once-successful bowling program this season. The high school had won state titles in girls bowling in 1973, 1976 and 1979, but the program ended in the 1990s. A student survey showed overwhelming support to bring back the sport, and 27 of the school's 249 students signed up when the bowling program returned with both a boys' and girls' team.

Abingdon girls"With Abingdon's rich bowling history, resurrecting the bowling team has already created a positive buzz in the community," David J. Black, superintendent of the Abingdon Community Unit School District, said in the school's grant application. "Thanks to the support of this grant, Abingdon will have a chance to reestablish itself as one of the premier, downstate bowling programs in the state."

With no available funds from the district for this season, the bowling team had fundraisers and also received assistance from the local Kiwanis organization and the high school booster club. Projected costs for the season were nearly $8,000, including lane time for practices/meets, travel costs and uniforms.

Head coach Amanda Stenger, along with Black and athletic director Joe Nichols, worked together on the application to the High School Grant Program, which provides assistance to bowling programs that have a financial need because of budget cuts or other changes, and to schools that request funding to start a new program. The grant program, administered by the International Bowling Campus Youth Development Team, can award up to four $2,500 grants a year.

"This will help our program tremendously," Stenger, who coaches both the boys' and girls' teams with assistant Steve Batson, said of the grant. "We were using borrowed balls and used ones. This will definitely help us get some team equipment. This grant will also allow us to continue to provide time for our bowlers to use our bowling center and continue to get better."

Abingdon boysStenger said the teams did well in their first season, with every bowler improving over the course of the season. The boys finished sixth out of 13 teams at their sectional, while the girls were 12th out of 19 teams.

"Because of our YES Fund partners, these grants are available to schools such as Abingdon that need assistance," said IBC Managing Director of Youth Development Chad Murphy. "The students have shown they want to compete in the sport and hopefully this grant will help to build a successful program."

The YES Fund is a joint initiative of the Bowling Proprietors' Association of America and the United States Bowling Congress. The YES Fund also is supported by its founding partners Brunswick, Columbia 300, Ebonite, 900 Global, Hammer, North Pointe Insurance, QubicaAMF, Roto Grip, Storm and Track.

To learn more about the High School Grant Program, visit school.