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Seeking assistance to help high school athletics

Local starts Save School Sports
By: Jim Linsdau News Messenger Sports Editor
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High School sports are no small matter in Placer County. In an area served by one university and junior college, it’s no wonder it holds the position it does. A number of local athletes earn scholarships to attend two and four-year schools outside the area. Part of that reason is not only the terrific community support, but also the dedicated coaches and teachers who bring out the best in their participants and players. But with the economy struggling in California, and across the country, the terrific programs that have flourished here could be in jeopardy. Budget cuts have already taken a toll on music, drama, and the liberal arts. Many local high schools sports programs have had to turn to the community for support, and fortunately, for now, they’ve found it. Lincoln’s Jeff Sola is one of those from Lincoln who has taken it upon himself, and his wife, to try and do more. A businessman, he has started a program called Save School Sports. “It’s like a PTA for sports,” Sola said in describing his fundraising idea. “My wife and I started off in a little town like Lincoln. It’s a win-win for all of us.” Sola describes his plan as simple, but not necessarily as easy. It requires the cooperation of as many merchants, and consumers, as are willing to participate. For the holidays, Sola has gotten GoPhotobooks.com, MyGoodGreetings.com, and Denevi Digital Imaging, Hayward, to participate. Denevi, a company that converts old video’s and movie films to DVD so they can be saved for a lifetime, has added Save School Sports to its website; just access denevi.com/sss. These companies have agreed to return a portion of each sale to the school of the customer’s choice. And as an added bonus, for every order placed from now until Jan. 15, the customer will be entered into a drawing to win an iPad 2. And schools able to collect 250 e-mails, or place 200 or more orders, can win 10 iPad 2s. Next year Sola hopes to have many local businesses involved, as well. Because the plan has a two-fold benefit, school sports and sales for participating enterprises, Sola wants to see retailers and other services in the area join in the venture. “How about the mom and pop shops,” said Sola. “We all started somewhere. Sports are a good foundation for kids, and life in general.” It remains to be seen how well Save School Sports will do in 2011, but Sola didn’t begin his project until November of this year. If the local merchants step forward, with the assistance of customer participation, high school sports should be with us for many more years to come.