by By RICK NORTON Associate Editor
Oct 01, 2012 | 2488 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Monster Ball
ADULTS JUST SOMETIMES seem like monsters to area children, especially in matters of home discipline. But on Oct. 27, they sort of will be as the 2012 Monster Ball kicks off in support of Junior Achievement of the Ocoee Region. Proceeds from the adults-only event will support JA programming that reaches out to more than 2,000 students each year within the immediate five-county area. The Saturday night prelude to Halloween will be held at the Museum Center at Five Points in downtown Cleveland. JA teaches work readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy to students in five area counties, including Bradley.
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Even Frankenstein had a soft spot for kids ... er ... bad example; even goblins, ghosts and most ghouls fret over whether youngsters today are prepared for tomorrow’s twists and turns and ups and downs of a rollercoaster global economy.

That’s why many are buying their tickets now — more than 100 are expected — for the third annual Monster Ball, a fully-costumed, seasonal fundraiser whose proceeds purchase the programming materials used by Junior Achievement of the Ocoee Region in its outreach to classrooms in the immediate five-county area, including Bradley.

Intended for adults only, but whose profits go to kids only, the 2012 Monster Ball is the local JA affiliate’s first major fundraiser under the leadership of its new president, Tracie McCartney.

McCartney succeeded in late August the retiring Sandy Moore, a 20-year JA veteran who had served the last 11 years as the local affiliate’s president.

The spirited Monster Ball bash will be held Saturday, Oct. 27, beginning at 7:30 p.m. at the Museum Center at Five Points near the heart of downtown Cleveland. Corporate tables are priced at $500, but creatures planning to creep, float or crawl in solo, in pairs or in itsy-bitsy groups will be seated at $45 per person.

An evening ticket includes a costume contest, a live DJ, dancing, heavy hors d’oeuvres and adult beverages. Costumes are optional, but certainly welcome at the Halloween party, McCartney said.

Tickets may be purchased by calling the JA office at 423-476-6772, by sending an email to jaocoee@bellsouth.net or by visiting the organization’s Facebook page. Tickets can also be purchased at several JA business partners including the Red Ribbon, all First Tennessee Bank locations, Tennessee Valley Bone & Joint, the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce or through any JA board member.

It’s a lighthearted fright of a night, but its mission is a serious one.

“Junior Achievement’s hands-on, experiential programs teach students the key concepts of work readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy,” McCartney said.

The local JA affiliate generally reaches out to more than 2,000 students per school season at all grade levels (K-12) in Bradley, McMinn, Monroe, Meigs and Polk counties. The organization partners closely with school systems in all five counties. This includes the Cleveland City and Bradley County School systems.

“Teachers from our service counties are requesting that JA volunteers and our programs be brought into their classrooms,” McCartney said. “However, without the funding from events such as the Monster Ball we are unable to fulfill all the requests.”

Each classroom has on average 23 students at $100 per instructional kit depending on the specific program and the class size. Some of the organization’s classes that are already being requested by area schools include “JA in a Day,” “Success Skills,” “Economics for Success” and “Reality Check.”

“JA has already received 95 requests for classes this year which is a considerable amount more than in previous years,” McCartney explained. “JA supplies these kits at no charge to the schools so funding [through public donations and organization fundraisers] is critical to our work.”

Of the Monster Ball’s purpose, it benefits area children and their lifeskills preparation, and it gives donors a chance to enjoy a lighthearted holiday amid safe surroundings, she noted.

“Your donation [ticket purchases] gets put directly into your child’s financial future; plus, you get to dress up and have a great Halloween with Cleveland’s elite!” McCartney stressed.

This year’s Monster Ball sponsors include First Tennessee Bank, United Knitting, Dick’s Graphics, Tennessee Valley Bone & Joint and Bowater Employee Credit Union.

JA works to fill the needs of area classrooms with volunteers. Even all the JA board members are unpaid volunteers who are representing their businesses or organizations in support of the student- and parent-friendly curriculum.

“Junior Achievement partners with area business leaders and their companies to educate and inspire young people to succeed in a global economy,” McCartney pointed out. “Our sponsoring partners volunteer their time to get in the classrooms and teach our children about financial literacy; this includes areas like budgeting, check balancing, business ethics and thriving in a work environment.”

Questions about Junior Achievement, its operations and programming, how to volunteer or about the Monster Ball or any other JA fundraisers may be directed to the Cleveland office at 423-476-6772. JA is located at Cleveland High School on Raider Drive.

The local JA organization was chartered in 1965. It originally operated as Junior Achievement of Bradley and McMinn Counties, but now serves the five counties representing the Ocoee Region.