It’s For the Kids Community Challenge recently welcomed four new fundraising teams in support of the Greater Lakes Region Children’s Auction, including its first student-led team from Belmont High School. Chris Pare, who is co-captain of the new team with fellow student Chloe Jackson, explained their team’s motivations.

"We're joining the Community Challenge because of the incredible impact it has on local families. As soon as we heard about the event, we were blown away by the intrinsic kindness and generosity of the challenge. Coupling that idea with the difficulties of this year, we decided that acts of kindness like this can turn a dark, gloomy year, into one with a bit more laughs and smiles."

Gilford Hills Tennis & Fitness has also formed a Community Challenge team, but co-captain Missi Perkins said Gilford Hills has been involved with the Children’s Auction for years. “We’ve hosted fitness-based events, manned the phone banks, donated memberships for the auction, and also did a few live workouts on the air!”

Gilford Hills is also hosting a fundraising tennis tournament this Nov. 14, welcoming men’s and women’s singles and doubles and mixed doubles to enter. There will be prizes for winners, plus door prizes, best holiday attire prizes, and a food and cash bar with all proceeds going to the Auction. Call 293-7546 or go to gilfordhills.com for more information.

Leadership Lakes Region is another new Community Challenge team, but they also have a long history of volunteering and fostering civic awareness in the local community. Team captain Jennifer McLean, Program Coordinator of Leadership Lakes Region, said, “Leadership Lakes Region is excited to be a part of this year’s ‘It’s For the Kids Community Challenge’ and to support the children of our communities.”

Community Unity, with David Barth as captain, is the 12th new team to sign up for the Community Challenge, putting the number of It’s For the Kids Community Challenge teams at a total of 44. This is more than two-thirds of the way toward the goal of 62 teams that was set by Community Challenge chairs Allan Beetle, Holly Ruggieri, and Anna Terry.

New teams can be any size and the fundraising goal is set at $2,500, though many teams surpass that amount, like new team the Lakers, which has already raised nearly $6,000 in just a few months. Other teams take fundraising to the next level, such as Laconia Harley-Davidson’s Iron Butts, who won last year’s Top Dollar award by raising more than $40,000.

“Every team makes such an important contribution,” said Allan Beetle. “It’s encouraging to see our community coming together to support children and families of the Lakes Region.”

It’s For the Kids Community Challenge will end this year with a closing ceremony, which will be held outside in downtown Laconia on Dec. 10 at 4 p.m. Anyone interested in finding out more or forming a team can contact Allan Beetle at abeetle@metrocast.net or visit childrensauction.com/challenge.

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