While many jump at the chance to bike, walk, or run for their favorite cause, Friends of Scotland Enterprises asked its supporters to spend a little time behind bars this week.
The group supports the local Monarch, Inc. branch by raising funds for projects that are not paid for by regular agency funding. Monarch, whose Laurinburg office serves 25 clients, provides support and educational opportunities for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
“Our group just reformed under the name ‘Friends of Scotland Enterprises,’ and primarily the money we raise helps them with projects that aren’t funded, that fall between the cracks,” said Dan Royals, Friends of Scotland Enterprises board member. “The money goes to important things like movies and social events, interacting with the public. So much of their funding goes to the costs of their therapists and caretakers, which eliminates any fun or other kinds of interactions for their clients.”
To kick off its fundraising effort, the group held a jail-a-thon on Wednesday at the State Bank building on Main Street. Deputies of the Scotland County Sheriff’s Office volunteered to make arrests for a few hours. Laurinburg business people and residents acted as the county’s most willing inmates, posing behind bars in the building’s safe before calling friends to “bail them out.”
“In theory, people come in, deputies pick them up and bring them in, and they get on the phone and call their friends and say that they need to be bailed out and they need to give five or 10 or 20 bucks to Friends of Scotland Enterprises,” said Royals.
Dave Wells and WLNC sports reporter Justin McNickle were among the day’s first arrests, brought to the jail-a-thon by sheriff’s cruiser from Walmart.
“We’re in the back of the cruiser and I’m telling one of my friends about the fundraiser and Justin said ‘We got arrested for stealing a laptop’ and I’m like dude, you’re getting the full effect here,” Wells said.
McNickle’s grandfather, Bill Meads, rushed to the State Bank with check in hand to bail out his wayward grandson, only to find that his money would be going to Friends of Scotland Enterprises.
“I told my sister when she called me at work that it was a joke,” said McNickle’s mother Janet. “Especially when they said to come to the old Wachovia building, I knew it had to be a fundraiser.”
All of the proceeds from the fundraiser — more than $400 — will be directed to activities and programs for Monarch clients.
“We try to support the staff and the consumers at Monarch whenever they have outings and enrichment programs,” said Friends of Scotland Enterprises Treasurer Myra Bodenhamer. “They’ve been to the John Blue House, the Storytelling and Arts Center, picnics, and cookouts. We try to see the consumers integrated into the community.”
Friends of Scotland Enterprises’ advisory board is led by Ronnie Quick and comprised of individuals including Royals, Bodenhamer, Shirley Jones, Steve McLean, State Rep. Garland Pierce, and Sheriff Shep Jones.
“We all have special interests, either family-related or ties in the community for those with special needs,” said Bodenhamer. “We’re trying to get them out and exposed to people and the community. We’re trying to show them that they can actually give to the community.”
The group’s ultimate goal is to raise $1,500 after pledges and other contributions.
“We really hope this altruistic endeavor turns out well - we’re using it to put them into social events and educational things and support their employment opportunities,” said Quick. “They need to get out of Scotland Enterprises sometimes - they contribute just as many positive ideas, integrity, and work skills as everyone else.”