The nonprofit is dedicated to helping individuals diagnosed with mental illness live meaningful and productive lives. Venture House offers assistance in work, relationships, sustained income, housing, medical care and education within their bright, unique and thriving clubhouse located at 150-10 Hillside Avenue in Jamaica.
Venture Bowl originated four years ago when a member, Nijah, pitched the idea of a fundraiser that both members and staff could have more of a role in planning and executing, according to Michelle Rabelo, a mental health worker at Venture House.
“Bowling is by far our most well attended monthly social outing so naturally we decided to go with a bowl-a-thon,” Rabelo said.
Teams of six get their bowl on and trophies are given to the highest scorer, most strikes and best form. Everyone who participates in the festivities gets a free and colorful t-shirt to mark the occasion.
“The event is really lively and upbeat,” Rabelo said. “It’s the most attended event by our membership and everyone is always in good spirits.”
Over 40 members joined staff and the community for Venture Bowl last year.
“It’s also an event that is cost efficient enough for friends and family of our members and staff to attend,” she added. “I think this fundraiser really represents what clubhouse is all about and brings that same energy to the bowling alley. Our program supporters get to meet our members while partaking in some friendly competition.”
Last year, the event raised a little over $2000. The proceeds go towards Venture House’s social committee. Throughout the year, the social committee plans the clubhouse’s social outings and recreational activities. The outings and activities include going to the movies, visiting a museum, attending a picnic and playing billiards.
The organization also hopes to raise enough money to send a number of their members to an overnight camp called Camp Isabella in Connecticut.
“Our members love to get out of the city and get a little break from the everyday stressors of life,” Rabelo said. “Unfortunately, due to cost, it’s not a trip we can make often.”
The bowl-a-thon isn’t the only exciting thing happening around Venture House.
Executive Director Juliet Douglas said the organization recently broke ground on a state-of-the-art wellness center, which will provide a space for health-related group activities such as yoga, dance, Zumba, exercise, health and nutrition education and basic health screenings.
Upcoming events also includes a night at the ballpark with the Staten Island Yankees on Friday, August 23 at 7 p.m. Venture House will host a singing competition for the national anthem to be sung at the game.
Venture Bowl will be held at JIB Lanes, 67-19 Parsons Blvd. in Pomonok, from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 6. Tickets can be purchased at bit.ly/2FtRy73. Tickets are $30 per person or $160 per team and will include three hours of gametime.