The Pella Knights of Columbus took a unique approach to this year’s campaign for persons with intellectual disabilities, creating a fundraising competition between local Pella students’ teams and groups, resulting in the group’s largest donation ever to Christian Opportunity Center.
Members of the Pella Lady Dutch girls’ soccer team presented COC Executive Director Rod Braun with a check for $5,413.30.
Joe Lickteig’s two daughters play soccer and decided to enlist the help of their teammates to raise funds for this year’s campaign. But the girls’ soccer team took it one step further, making a friendly wager with the football team.
If the girls’ soccer team raised more money, Coach Brian Huddle would wear a pink soccer jersey for the presentation photo. If the football team raised more, Joe would wear football gear and take on Austin Schulte in a tackling drill.
Word of the competition spread through the school, resulting in seven teams and clubs volunteering to help with the campaign.
Girls’ soccer won the bet by raising $576.65, topping the football team’s total of $465.10. Cross country raised $431.48, while Technology Student Association (TSA) raised $143. Band raised $117.58, followed by volleyball’s $106 and boys’ soccer’s $65.85.
Thanks to an annual trophy and added interest from teams and groups, excitement is already building for next year’s campaign.
The campaign ran the final full week of August and was coordinated by Art Halstead, Travis Eisenbarth and Mike Linde, who managed 50 Knights, friends and families for seven days, resulting in 200 volunteer hours.
Since 1999, Pella Knights of Columbus donations total more than $45,000 in support of COC. Its 2014 donation of $4,275 was the largest prior to Wednesday’s presentation. Last year, Pella Knights of Columbus were in the top 3% for dollars raised per Knight.
The Pella Knights of Columbus are part of the larger Iowa Knights of Columbus, whose tagline is “Go Make a Difference!” For more information visit http://iowakofc.org/ or connect with Pella Knights of Columbus #12334 on Facebook.
Founded in 1969, COC provides residential and vocational support and services to 250 people with disabilities in Marion, Mahaska, Warren and Polk counties. For more information visit http://christianopportunity.org/ or connect with Christian Opportunity Center on Facebook and IowaCOC on Twitter.
Christian Opportunity Center (COC) dedicated its new entrance in honor of its first Executive Director Harold Eiten with a brief ceremony and time of fellowship on Thursday.
COC Executive Director Rod Braun opened the ceremony with an introduction, presentation of plaque, and prayer. Harold shared his memories of COC and expressed his gratitude for the honor. Former Executive Director Bruce Nikkel closed the ceremony by quoting Harvey De Jager, former CEO of Hope Haven of Rock Valley. Harvey dedicated COC’s first building by saying: “The future of COC is as bright as the promises of God.”
In January of 1969, Harold visited Pella to meet with community leaders and parents about a job directing a special education program. Because the federal government had not yet mandated special education services in public schools, the program was to be fully funded by donations.
Six months later, Harold, his wife and six children journeyed from Michigan to Iowa on faith in a vision cast by local leaders and with no guarantee that the dream would become a reality. But by late summer, the program was up and running.
Harold served as Executive Director until 1973.
Some of Harold’s favorite memories include: COC Volunteer Corps who gathered 2,048 S&H Green Stamp books to purchase COC’s first van for transporting students; local families who served as Family Life Homes for students; and generous support from the local community that led to continued support of the mission of COC.
Harold’s passion and vision for COC set the stage for decades of successful supports and services for people with disabilities.
Founded in 1969, COC provides residential, vocational and spiritual supports and services to nearly 300 people with disabilities in Dallas, Marion, Mahaska, Warren and Polk counties. For more information visit http://christianopportunity.org/ or connect with Christian Opportunity Center on Facebook.