Arts, Community, Education

Local After School Program Hosts Film Festival Fundraiser

The CanTeen after school program welcomes 50-60 high schoolers per day when school ends (c) 2018 A.J. Fabbri


Click the play button above to learn how an international film festival will help support an after school program for Syracuse high schoolers

Audio Transcript: Fabbri_AfterSchoolProgram_

By A.J. Fabbri, SYRACUSE, NY (NCC News)–The CanTeen after school program will be hosting a fundraiser featuring an internationally recognized film festival this week. On Wednesday, February 7, the Banff Mountain Film Festival will be taking place in the auditorium of North Syracuse Junior High School at 7 p.m.

The CanTeen program is an after-school program offered to students in grades eight through twelve in the North Syracuse Central School District. The program has hosted plenty of fundraising events since it started in 1999, but Wednesday will mark the first time a film festival will come to town.

Toni’Lyn Brauchle is the CanTeen youth services coordinator. Her younger brother, Thomas Connelly, hosts the festival in Rochester, so she decided to pull some strings.

“I talked to my brother about it and I thought ‘Let’s approach the Banff people and see if they would consider Syracuse as a stop in their tour,’” Brauchle said.

Fundraising is one of the main sources of revenue for the CanTeen. Brauchle estimates that the program needs to generate nearly $40,000 per year in order to keep its doors open for local high schoolers.

That goal has been more difficult to come by in the last few years. Traditionally, the program’s biggest fundraising event is the annual Gus Macker 3-on-3 basketball tournament. Originally, the 200-team tournament was held at Driver’s Village in Cicero. Brauchle said that its prime location attracted sponsors, which generated about $25,000 per year.

But after five years at Driver’s Village, a car dealership was built at the location of the tournament, so Brauchle and the CanTeen had to look elsewhere.

“We wound up next door at CNS [Cicero-North Syracuse] High School, which logistically, in getting exposure, is fantastic. But there isn’t a whole lot of sponsorship potential up in this end of the world. We took quite a hit and went down by two-thirds in our profit,” Brauchle said.

In order to make up for the lost profit, Brauchle said she has been looking for fundraising opportunities that are not labor intensive for her staff, which is comprised entirely of volunteer workers.

“[The film festival] is a way to raise money for a cause. Without those funds, we can’t keep the doors open,” Brauchle said.

By keeping the doors open, the CanTeen is helping adolescent teens navigate turbulent high school years.

“There are some kids that really rely on having these relationships in their lives to help them make good decisions, healthy decisions and not necessarily taking risky behaviors.”

* Due to inclement weather, the film festival has been postponed to Thursday, February 8th at 7 pm