Agency plans fundraiser to rappel down McLane Stadium

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Posted: Friday, June 20, 2014 12:01 am | Updated: 9:32 am, Fri Jun 20, 2014.

Forget lemonade stands and magazine subscriptions to raise money for a cause.

A local group hopes to raise funds for at-risk children by dangling brave residents off Baylor University’s much- anticipated McLane Stadium being built on the bank of the Brazos River.

Communities in Schools of the Heart of Texas is working to bring an event called “Over the Edge” to Waco.

Local daredevils who have raised $1,000 for at-risk children will be able to rappel down the stadium on Sept. 27, almost a month after the sold-out first Baylor Bears football game.

CIS is part of a national network aiming to prevent student dropout.

While the event is being promoted on CIS’s Facebook page and residents can sign up to participate on a website, additional paperwork has to be finalized next week between the agencies involved and SMG, the company hired to manage the stadium, before the fundraiser can occur.

Tyler Gambrell, SMG marketing manager, said the company is working on a variety of events to bring to the stadium, but she declined to confirm the Over the Edge event.

Gambrell said the company will announce events “as soon as details are 100 percent and ready.”

Venée Hummel, CIS’s resource development coordinator and the event manager, said it is a different form of fundraising for the area and one that will help local children.

Three people already have registered for the event, which costs $50 until Aug. 1 and goes toward the $1,000 minimum pledge. All early registrants combined already have raised almost $1,000, Hummel said.

“By helping children who are at risk and preparing them with their education and workforce skills, we’re helping with our economy by potentially reducing costs on social services and incarceration,” Hummel said. “Our children are our future, and to break the cycle of poverty and different cycles we see in the social world, a great place to start is with the children.”

More than 10 percent of Waco Independent School District’s high school students scheduled to graduate with the class of 2012 dropped out of school, according to the Texas Education Agency’s Academic Excellence Indicator System. That figure does not include those who received a GED instead of a diploma.

If the event is finalized, no climbing or rappelling experience would be necessary to register. Anyone ages 18 and older who weighs between 100 and 300 pounds can register.

Only 96 people can rappel, but if enough sign up soon, Hummel said, the nonprofit group could order another rope, allowing for 50 more people.

The $260 million stadium on the Baylor campus was an obvious choice for the event with the significant hype surrounding its completion, Hummel said, adding that the nonprofit group has many Baylor student tutors, mentors and interns.

“It’s such a monument that our community is erecting,” she said. “There’s a lot of positive energy around the stadium being opened on the Brazos banks.”

The group sends social workers into campuses to provide services and also has several programs for various causes throughout its service area. Programs include workforce development, recovering youth who have dropped out of school, and juvenile delinquency prevention programs.

The funding raised from this project will go toward improving those services and to reach more children, Hummel said, though specific designations have not been determined.

Hummel said she and others will work alongside participants to help create ways to raise the necessary funding.

“I really want to come alongside and help people be successful,” she said.

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If you go

What: Communities In Schools of the Heart of Texas fundraiser to support at-risk children. Participants who raise $1,000 can rappel from Baylor University’s McLane Stadium

When: Sept. 27

Fundraising goal: $100,000

Raised so far: $970

Register: By Sept. 26 at firstgiving.com/cishot/over-the-edge

For more information: Contact Venée Hummel at vhummel@cis-hot.org or look for Communities In Schools of the Heart of Texas on Facebook. Registration is half off until Aug. 1

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