To say last week’s Andover Youth Services Telethon was a success would be an understatement.
Held last Thursday and Friday at the high school’s Collins Center for the Performing Arts, the fundraising effort raised over $150,000. That included a $50,000 anonymous donation at the end of the first night, according to Andover Youth Foundation Chairwoman Diane Costagliola.
With $2 million raised for the youth center before the event, the telethon puts the foundation within $50,000 of what it needs to begin construction, Costagliola said.
When asked if she thought the telethon would raise that much money in two days, Costagliola said nobody within the organization thought the event would bring in nearly that much.
“I had people answering phones saying that they couldn’t believe how many $500, $1,000 donations people were making,” she said. “Kids were pooling their money together to make a donation.”
For many, the telethon served as a coming together of the community, including current Andover citizens and businesses, and others who returned to town for the event to support AYS.
“When I was in middle school, I went on a lot of AYS-sponsored trips. I really loved them and felt like they had a large impact on my life growing up,” said 20-year-old Casey McQuillen, a Berklee College of Music sophomore. “I’ve been working with AYS for a while now. They called me up and asked if I would do another show, and I said, ‘Absolutely.’”
Four twentysomethings who originally met at the high school came together to perform a rendition of Led Zeppelin’s “Good Times, Bad Times.”
“For 19 years, Bill [Fahey, AYS director] has been trying to build this thing,” said 24-year-old Eric Ramsdell, who played guitar for the band.
Bassist Will Colbe, 25, said he took part in AYS programming throughout middle school and high school, and that “it was really great to give back to these guys because of what they do for the community.”