Helicopter ‘putts’ 1,000 golf balls on J soccer field, improves playground

Children from the Valley of the Sun JCC Early Childhood Center watch a helicopter drop more than 1,000 golf balls on The J’s soccer field on March 1 with proceeds supporting enhancements to the preschool’s playground and programs. (Submitted photos)

More than 1,000 golf balls dropped from 100 feet in the air onto the Valley of the Sun JCC soccer fields in front of hundreds of children.

According to a press release, kids from the the Early Childhood Center watched the event that was held on March 1 for a fundraiser to improve The J’s non-profit preschool’s playground and programs.

Jill Mann Strite, ECC mom and owner of Versatile Golf, had the idea to have golf balls dropped from a helicopter, the release said.

“I am fortunate to run a company that focuses on raising funds in creative ways for deserving organizations all over the Valley. Last week’s helicopter golf ball drop brought in thousands of dollars to advance the already amazing Early Childhood Center at the Valley of the Sun JCC and was a special experience for the kids to witness,” said Ms. Mann Strite in a prepared statement.

“My son attends the ECC and I know that every day he is in safe, competent hands thanks to the special educators in every classroom.”

The three balls that landed closest to the pin won prizes, according to the release, adding that golf balls were $25 each or 5 for $100.

Joel Schaller had the ball closest to the pin and won the $2,000 cash prize that he donated back to The J; Daniel Friedman won a designated, covered parking space for the preschool; and Danielle Masserman won a two-year lease of a Corolla from Right Toyota, the release noted.

“The ball drop offered us the most creative and fun way to engage our families in the future of our early childhood center,” said Kim Subrin, COO of The J, in a prepared statement.

“Not only did we raise money for playground improvements and programming opportunities, but we were able to create a social and educational component as the parents and students watched the helicopter land and take off. The golf balls even became a tool for our neighboring elementary students in the math lesson for the day.”

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