Bowlero Lanes is hosting the Toledo Bowling Senate Juniors this season, a tournament sanctioned by the National Bowling Association for inner-city youth from ages 5-18.
"It is designed to give children something to do. It's cheap, fun and there are volunteers every Saturday to help kids with bowling as well as helping with other things in life," said George W. Hayes Jr., a coordinator of the event for the last three years.
There are no qualifications to join, with the exception of purchasing a membership for $7 at Bowlero Lanes, formerly Westland Lanes.
There are 18 teams in three divisions - Bantams (5-8), Juniors (9-11) and All-Stars (12-18).
The Toledo Bowling Senate
Juniors is set up not only to teach kids about bowling, but also about behavior.
"There is no cursing, no hates, no droopy clothes and there is a dress code and they will act in a certain manner or they will sit out," Hayes said.
The children have chances to win scholarship money for school if they make the honor roll.
"It's fun and you get to meet a lot of people," said Sa-Shaee Vassel, who is an eighth-grader at George A. Phillips Academy. "I get to learn how to bowl and it is an extracurricular activity where we can travel and win scholarships."
The league has been in the Toledo area for 45 years.
"We also like to reward the kids by giving them scholarships if they win or even make the honor roll," Hayes said.
According to Kayla Hill, who bowls in the Junior division, it gives her and others something to do.
"It keeps us out of trouble," Hill said. "And we get to knock down some pins, too."
"You get to see people you don't see every day," said Kevin Staples, who also bowls in the junior division. "It's another sport that I like to play besides basketball."
Even the younger kids, like Kenneth Tisdel and Alexa Curl of the Bantam division, get to enjoy bowling.
"It's fun," said Tisdel. "I have a ball and I like to knock down the bowling pins."
"It's fun because you get to travel and meet people from other states," said Curl.
The National Bowling Association was originally named the National Negro Bowling Association, but the organization has no racial restrictions for membership, according to www.cbbs-tnba.org.
The league also holds fundraisers for money to buy the children shirts, as well as transportation to the NBA Central Regional Junior Championship Tournament over Easter weekend. This year the tournament will be held in Akron.
After the season, each bowler will receive a plaque or trophy for his or her participation, in a banquet held on April 8.
For more information, contact Hayes at 419-243-4965, Joyce Jones at 419-699-1863 or April Tisdel at 419-699-1168.
Contact Adam Thompson at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6110.