Valencia Lanes turned into a neon winter wonderland of charity on Sunday when it hosted the seventh annual Bowling for Kids fundraiser for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.
Taylor Kellstrom, an ambassador for the hospital and organizer of the bowling event, said that when he first started the fundraiser, he did not expect it to continue past its first year.
“I’m a former patient of the Children’s Hospital so it really means a lot to me, and that first year it was just a way for me to get all my friends back together after college and raise money,” Kellstrom said. “It’s funny since it was exactly seven years ago to the day that I started this and I never thought it would go for this long.”
This year’s event drew in approximately 200 people and filled up all the lanes of the bowling alley. Kellstrom estimated between $6,000 and $8,000 were collected from the event’s silent auction.
Each year, scores are tallied for the first two rounds of bowling and trophies are given to the best team and the best individual bowler. Kellstrom said that over the years, he has noticed that not all the attendees bowl and instead come just to donate and enjoy the environment. Four lanes were purchased by donors who were unable to attend and instead donated the lanes to the Boys and Girls Club and Child and Family Center.
“It’s great that we were able to help give back to another nonprofit organization to make the holidays just a little bit brighter,” Kellstrom said. “The event is for Children’s Hospital but we’re fortunate to have community individuals that really care about local kids enough to help have a good time without costing anything.”
Kellstrom said that he has no plans of stopping the event any time soon and even plans to potentially expand it to either a two-part event or spread it over two days in order to accommodate demand.
Kari Hollingsworth has attended the event for the past four years and said that many of the children who attend her Center Stage Dance Academy have been treated by the hospital.
“We won the first two years, but our friends beat us last year, and it’s fun to have the rivalry,” said. “It’s always really packed when we come to the Bowling For Kids and I really like seeing the new auction items that are offered each year.”
Ryan Whelchel, one of Kellstrom’s close friends, has attended all seven Bowling for Kids events. He said that with all the different charity events that go on in Santa Clarita, he is glad that Kellstrom’s event has found continued success.
“I really like the sense of community you get here and that everyone just really wants to help out a good cause,” Whelchel said. “Bowling is a family friendly event that’s also competitive with little to no risk of injury, so it’s a good way to make sure everyone has fun.”