A Kansas City Superhero

The men and women who volunteer for JA usually have professional experiences they share with students. Whether these stories are about success or failure, strategies or goals, the stories provide valuable insight to students.Meredith Suarez, a corporate relations manager at JA of Middle America in Kansas City, Mo., shared this story of Cynthia Thomas. Cynthia is the co-owner of Mission Bowl, a family-owned bowling center since 1958. It is also the place JA of Middle America <http://bit.ly/1eDL59H> hosts the majority of their Bowl-a-Thon events each year. {C}Cynthia is also a JA volunteer and has worked actively to promote JA within the community. Unfortunately, Cynthia had to cancel the JA Bowl-a-Thon events for an entire month because on the morning of April 3, 2015, Mission Bowl was destroyed by a fire. Regretfully, Cynthia also had to cancel one of her JA classes.Knowing she may shed a tear at her next JA class, but also acknowledging that she would be setting an important example of working to overcome a setback, Cynthia chose to teach her JA class the following week. To her surprise, the lesson she was going to teach pertained to a business that had caught on fire.Cynthia turned her fear into triumph and decided the students needed to learn a real-life lesson about what is involved in recovering and rebuilding your business when a tragedy strikes. The students were very interested in hearing her personal story."It was very therapeutic to use JA," said Cynthia. It gave her the "opportunity to heal from the tragedy and teach a very valuable lesson to a group of very supportive second graders."Being named one of Kansas City?s superheroes, Cynthia plans to reopen Mission Bowl in October 2015. The community is very excited for the reopening and JA is proud to resume Bowl-a-Thons in Spring 2016.

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