Volunteer Corner: Janet Bellas
What is the Tahoe Sierra Century ? It is a bike ride created to fund North Tahoe Middle and High School band programs. It will be held this Saturday, Sept. 22.How did you get interested?My children started band in the sixth grade. Matt is in the 12th grade now and plays the alto saxophone. Zack, who is in ninth grade, plays the tenor sax. Kathy Brown, who started the fundraiser five years ago, approached me two years ago to take over.So the Tahoe Sierra Century began five years ago. How?Kathy Brown and a group of parents and community members thought theyd bring the little bake sales and various money-raisers into one big fundraiser. In 2003 there were 300 riders it was a sold-out event. About a month before the event there were 13 sign-ups, then it sold out.How many riders do you expect this year?We have 800 riders and we can have up to 1,000. We arent like for-profits; we will have a cut off.Describe the ride for our readers.There are three rides, a 100-mile ride, which about 60 to 70 percent of the riders do. The others are 60 and 30 miles. The 100-mile ride begins in Squaw Valley and there is 6,400 feet of climbing. It goes along the lake, over Highway 267 to Truckee, around Donner Lake and over the summit, back up the summit its pretty brutal. At the end in Squaw Valley, Fireside Pizza serves dinner. Of course, the best part of the event is in the evening when the bands play.And what bands would be playing?The middle school jazz band, the high school jazz ensemble and jazz band, as well as the Laker band (middle school eighth grade).Where does the money go?Last year, $34,000 was raised. The band department is not very well funded, and the proceeds are used for competitions and festivals, some of which are invitation only. It helps with fees, transportation, new sheet music and uniforms. They are very classy uniforms. It also helps with instrument rental programs for those who cant afford them.Describe the music program.The kids really get into it. They truly have a passion for the music. They are good students all around, and get good grades. The band department is well supported by the community and parents, even parents who dont have kids in the program. The teachers and instructors are incredible. Its fun to see girls playing all the instruments. The trombone, tuba, trumpet and percussion.What is your job as a volunteer?My job is the director. I am the coordinator. I organize the different committees, everything.Thats a big job. Why did Kathy choose you?She approached me because of my experience. I have owned and operated a catering business, Bella Affair, for 25 years. I am used to special events and organization. My degree is in business administration with a major in hotel and restaurant management.Where did you study?I have a bachelors degree from the University of Colorado, Denver. I came to the Tahoe area one summer before I graduated. This is where I wanted to start a business, right out of college.How would interested persons find out more about the Tahoe Sierra Century?Visit our Web site, http://www.tahoesierracentury.com. Youll find a link to contact us and volunteer, maps of the race routes, information about our sponsors, and registration forms.Whats it like to run your business, the Tahoe Sierra Century and raise two boys?I just dont sleep. You get out of life what you put into it.The Sierra Suns Amy Edgett interviewed Janet Bellas for this weeks Volunteer Corner. Please send your suggestions to email@example.com, subject Volunteer Corner. For volunteer opportunities in the North Tahoe Truckee area, visit http://www.handsontahoe.com
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