Dooley, Witten Fund Learning Center

June 20, 2012

As part of his ongoing work with Variety - The Children's Charity of East Tennessee, UT head football coach Derek Dooley has teamed up with former Vol Jason Witten and his SCORE Foundation to help fund the renovation and development of a learning center at the Halls/Powell location of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held at the new Dooley-Witten Learning Center at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 21.

"Jason Witten is a prime example of how the Boys & Girls Club impacts young people and helps them realize dreams that many deem impossible," said Dooley. "I'm impressed with how Jason continues to utilize his time, effort, and resources to East Tennessee in a significant way, and I am honored to partner with him on the Learning Center.

"I also greatly appreciate the partnership Allison and I have with Variety and Regal Entertainment that allows us to help make a difference in the lives of our young people in East Tennessee."

Joining Dooley and Witten will be Regal Entertainment Group CEO Amy Miles, Director of Variety - The Children's Charity of East Tennessee Carol Fusco, and representatives from the Boys & Girls Club.

"I am very honored and excited to partner with Coach Dooley and Variety of East Tennessee to make this learning center a reality," Witten said. "I am proud to have my foundation partner with other dedicated people and organizations to make a difference in my home state, and particularly Knoxville, where I spent some of the best years of my life playing at Tennessee.

"As a kid, I was a regular at my local Boys & Girls Club, and I know what a positive difference it makes for kids to have that place to go learn, play and enjoy being a kid. I am thrilled to help provide the kids at the Halls/Powell Club with this great new space to study, read and learn."

Proceeds from the 2011 Big Orange Experience with Allison and Derek Dooley benefiting Variety were used to fund the renovation work. The local chapter of Variety was founded in Knoxville by Regal Cinemas in 2001 and since then has generated more than $5 million to assist children in East Tennessee.

Variety - The Children's Charity is a multi-million dollar philanthropic organization that spans the globe with 50 chapters in 14 countries, improving the lives of children through creative fundraising efforts, well placed donations with exceptional children's charities and its own charitable programs. With the help of volunteers and sponsors, Variety - The Children's Charity continues its mission to provide lifesaving and life-enriching assistance to children in need on the local and international level. The local chapter of Variety was founded in Knoxville by Regal Cinemas in 2001 and since then has generated more than $5 million to assist children in East Tennessee.

Jason Witten's SCORE Foundation was launched in 2007 to help families in crisis, and has been a leader in the fight against domestic abuse and in efforts to promote youth health and education. In 2008, the foundation started the groundbreaking Jason Witten's SCOREkeepers program, which placed male mentors on staff at six different family violence shelters across Texas. In addition, SCORE has opened Jason Witten Learning Centers in Texas and Witten's native Tennessee.

Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley offers programs that increase academic success, encourage healthy lifestyles and develop good citizenship and character among youth. The organization currently serves 5,000 of our area youth, ages 5 to 17 years, throughout the Tennessee Valley region. The organization also provides 338,000 USDA hot meals and snacks annually for members free of charge. The Clubs see as many as 1,120 youth walk through the doors on any given day in the 15 locations in Knox, Blount, Loudon and Northern Anderson Counties. The organization employs more than 280 trained, professional, caring staff and welcomes more than 1,200 volunteers annually. The Boys & Girls Clubs believe that every person we encounter has limitless potential that we must discover, ignite and foster.

The Big Orange Experience is an annual event hosted by Derek and Allison Dooley in conjunction with Variety - The Children's Charity and the Regal Entertainment Group to benefit organizations that improve the lives of children in East Tennessee. In two years, the events have raised more than $500,000 and have benefited organizations such as the Imagination Library, Camp Koinonia, Play It Smart, and the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley and of the Smoky Mountains.





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