On June 24, Play It Again Sports (PIAS) Forest Park had its official grand opening. After weeks of purchasing equipment, the store opened for customers wishing to purchase sports gear. A line formed at the door, and owner Erich Krumrei broke the record for opening days sales for all PIAS stores on June 24.
Partnering with local nonprofits is part of Krumrei’s mission, and not only has he supported Howard Brown during Pride Month, he’s now partnering with 209 Scholarship, the group organized in 2016 to raise scholarship money for Proviso Township High School District 209 students.
A customer can bring used sports equipment to PIAS and opt to donate the money to 209 Scholarship instead of receiving cash or in-store credit.
April Baker and Michelle Woehrle, both members of the scholarship organization, attended the grand opening.
According to Baker, in 2016 the group awarded 6 $1,000 scholarships. This year, they plan to award 12 $1,000 scholarships and 18 $500 renewal scholarships, for a total of $21,000.
By the end of the year, said Baker, the total amount of scholarships they’ve awarded will be $73,500 to 48 graduates attending 25 colleges.
“We are grateful to community members and businesses who pitch in to support our graduates,” Baker said.
The last year 209 Scholarship held an in-person fundraiser was 2019, and they haven’t been able to do one since due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so most of their fundraising has been done online through facebook.com/209scholarship and Instagram.com/209scholarship.
Baker said the organization continues to look for creative ways to fundraise and serve D209 graduates.