COSHOCTON -- The Mentoring Center of Coshocton County is conducting the 31th annual Bowling For Kids event on March 16 and March 17 at the Coshocton Bowling Lanes. A special school bowl event will be held on March 23 for school aged teams. This year's "Banking on the Future of Children" theme is meant to emphasize the importance of building a solid foundation for children.

Bowling For Kids is designed as a celebration of the community's support for the mentoring programs provided by The Mentoring Center of Coshocton County including the traditional Bigs/Littles one-to-one match, school based mentoring, parent mentoring, and the peer mentoring program, as well as expanded special programming which has included a summer youth program and parent education. As the agency's primary fundraiser, Bowling For Kids is responsible for raising more than 50 percent of the agency's annual budget. The agency has set a goal of $45,000.

According to Executive Director Sheila Mayse, this goal is attainable, "If every lane is filled and every bowler brings in the minimum donation request of $50, we can reach our goal. Without this fundraiser, we run the risk of not being able to continue to provide the services we know children benefit from in this community. Our goal is always to expand the ways we serve kids."

Funds are raised through the creation of five person teams, who raise money on behalf of the agency. Each adult team member is asked to raise at least $50. Throughout the event, teams will bowl two games, enjoy fresh pizza, listen to music, and get a chance at incentives and door prizes. Available bowling times are 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m. on both March 16 and March 17. Individuals are encouraged to call 740-623-8110 to reserve a lane.

In addition to donations from bowlers, the event receives support from local sponsors. The 2012 presenting sponsor is Kraft Foods. Corporate sponsors include AEP Ohio, Coshocton Bowling Lanes, Coshocton Elks Lodge 376 Charities, Coshocton Tribune, National Association of Letter Carriers, and Rock Tenn.

With regard to the event Mayse adds, "We always have a great time at Bowling For Kids. It is wonderful to have the support of the community and with the recent cut-backs in grant funding to local non-profits it is absolutely essential to being able to continue to work we do with children. Coshocton is truly a model of how Bowling For Kids can work."

TMCCC is also a United Way agency. Anyone interested in learning more about Bowling For Kids, volunteering, or enrolling a child in any of the programs offered by The Mentoring Center of Coshocton County is encouraged to call 740-623-8110.