Get in and drive to help student athletes

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published May 7, 2013

Helping with fundraising has never been so easy.

For the fourth year in a row, the Lakeview Athletic Booster Club will host a “Drive 4 Your School” event on its grounds as a way to bring more money for athletic equipment and scholarships, just by offering test drives of new vehicles.

Mark Hillebrand, president of the Lakeview Athletic Booster Club, said they use the proceeds toward items the athletic programs need beyond what the district will pay for. The money has also been used in the past for scholarships for graduating seniors.

This year’s “Drive 4 Your School” event will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 11 in the parking lot of the Lakeview High School Auditorium, 21100 E. 11 Mile Road.

Held in conjunction with Roy O’Brien Ford, Ford Motor Company will donate $20 per test drive to the organization, up to $6,000. Anyone 18 years and older with a valid driver’s license can come out to test drive a vehicle at the event; Ford will donate $20 per household for each test drive. Even if one member of the household has already driven, Roy O’Brien Ford Sales Manager Amy O’Brien-Kravitz said other members are still welcome to get behind the wheel.

“It’s just a nice opportunity for them to get out and try these vehicles,” she said. “We don’t bring any paperwork or anything; we just let them drive, hand them brochures and hope to see them sometime down the road.”

Hillebrand said Roy O’Brien Ford will bring up to a dozen vehicles for participants to test-drive, and that usually includes at least one “hot rod.”

He said he appreciates and understands the commitment to the student athletes at Lakeview High School; although he is the president of the booster club, he hasn’t had a student in the school for four years.

The first year, the event raised $3,500, the second raised $4,500 and last year brought $5,400 back to the Lakeview Athletic Booster Club.

“It’s been more successful every year,” Hillebrand said. “It’s a no-risk fundraiser for the school (and) it gives Ford a chance to display their product.”

The event isn’t only about cars, he said. The club hosts a bake sale, the marching band sells flowers and the basketball program hosts a free-throw competition throughout the day. The rugby team will also be on hand to sell popcorn and cotton candy, and the cheerleaders will hold a car wash at the same time.

“It gives people a chance to come out, drive the cars and do some things at the school,” he said. “We count on it now in the springtime to do this.”

O’Brien-Kravitz said the automaker only allows the dealer to host one “Drive 4 Your School” event a year. Lakeview High School does such a great job promoting it, and expanding on what the dealership offers, that they keep coming back.

“We do it because we love the interaction with the community,” she said. “It’s actually a lot of fun to watch folks come out and have their pick of what they want to test drive. All the stereotypes are shattered. It’s a lot of fun to watch that.”