Atherton Archery Tournament raises $2,800 for Uspiritus

Atherton High School Principal Tom Aberli never imagined that his visit to Uspiritus more than a year ago would result in a donation totaling nearly $3,000.

Aberli, who is also the school’s archery coach, pushed for Uspiritus to be the beneficiary of Atherton’s Wintery Archery Shoot held January 10-11. The tournament drew teams from throughout the region, raising $2,814 for Uspiritus from a $2 donation from each archery registration (543) and adult admission.

Aberli, along with his wife and son, attended Bright Lights at Brooklawn in December 2012, the annual holiday tree-lighting ceremony that also allows campus guests to tour the cottages of Uspiritus residents. It was there Aberli first learned about Uspiritus as the event came just days after the announced merger of Bellewood and Brooklawn.

Aberli had known several Atherton students who had benefitted from Brooklawn services. His first-hand visit to the campus left a meaningful impression and inspired him to support the Uspiritus mission. He shared his experience with his athletes and discussed with the team how archery could be a positive catalyst for vulnerable youth and families in their community.

“Everyone was excited about providing for such a good cause,” Aberli said.

The growth of archery in this area — spurred in part by “The Hunger Games” — and community interest in the tournament resulted in an outsized donation and surprised even Aberli.

“I was surprised by the excellent turnout and to hear everyone was so pleased with our fundraiser-focus for this event,” he said.

Louisville native and “The Hunger Games” star Jennifer Lawrence has also been a supporter of Uspiritus-Bellewood.

Uspiritus had a booth during both days of the event, sharing information about its programs and recruiting potential foster parents and volunteers. Some of the nearly 900 adult attendees even choose to make their own financial gifts after learning about Uspiritus and the hope and healing it provides to Kentucky children and families.

The Atherton archery team will consider ways to continue their connection with Uspiritus as they plan next year’s goals come March.

Aberli said, “Thanks for being there and you have the support of the Atherton Archery team!”

“The way the Atherton archers and Principal Aberli have embraced Uspiritus is impressive and moving,” said Mary-Kate O’Leary, Uspiritus president/CEO. “We are grateful for their support and hope their efforts will spark others to reach out.”

UPDATE: January 21 – The Courier-Journal’s youth sports section called the Atherton Archery-Uspiritus partnership, “A true win for all.” Read more here.