Co-owners Jack Canouse and Chris Albano opened their first location of Stars and Strikes Family Entertainment Center (SSFEC) in 2005 with Corporate Social Responsibility in mind.
From its inception, the co-owners decided to make charity a cornerstone of the company’s foundation. One of the family-friendly venue’s Core Values is Give Back: Our business will give back to the community and will seek opportunities to support local charities.
This December Stars and Strikes continues its 13-year tradition of closing to the public on a Saturday morning to throw a full-fledged Christmas Party for thousands of local foster kids and their foster parents. They started with two centers participating and now have twelve.
Team members donate their time to work the event, helping to spread Christmas cheer to the wonderful kids and the adults who sacrifice to provide them with a home. Albano and Canouse attend as many locations as they can in order to witness the joy on the children’s faces. They personally purchase a gift card for every child, with more than 2500 attendees each year.
“My favorite story was a foster family who shared that one of their foster children had never been to anything like Stars and Strikes in his life,” said Roxanne Armes, director of sales for SSFEC. “He was so excited to be able to come and play. He had never been given a Christmas stocking either. When he received it he held on tightly to it with tears in his eyes. The foster parents thanked us over and over again for providing such a wonderful gift for this little boy.”
As Stars and Strikes has grown over the years (currently employing more than 1200 people) so has its outreach effort. Each of their 15 locations has a charitable cause their team members have chosen and support with their time, money and dedication. New managers relay after they have been hired that they applied to work at SSFEC because of the intrinsic “give back” culture as is witnessed in each Stars and Strikes location’s everyday culture.
More than six years ago, Alpharetta-residents Jack and Carolyn Canouse took Stars and Strikes’ philanthropy to a new level by starting the international non-profit, Make a Miracle. This 501(c)3 organization supports education, housing, wellness and community projects in the most impoverished area of Lima, Peru. San Juan de Lurigancho is the largest district of Lima and has the greatest number of challenges in educating its community.
Co-owners of SSFEC, Mary and Chris Albano have not only supported Make a Miracle through sponsoring several scholarships to educate students in San Juan de Lurigancho but have also journeyed to Peru numerous times to build homes for families in need.
“To be honest when I was in Peru I was surprised to see how big Make a Miracle had become and the difference they were making in so many lives. With the connections you make with these people during your time in Peru, you almost can’t NOT go back,” Chris Albano said.
This past July, Carolyn and Jack Canouse brought four Stars and Strikes team members to Peru; these first-timers to Peru helped construct three homes, dedicated the roof of a new community “Wellness Center” (a Peruvian tradition) and hosted a workshop on interview skills for young adults. They were also able to meet the ‘Star Kids’, members of a kid’s club completely funded by SSFEC.
This recent trip gave Stars and Strikes team members the opportunity to get their hands dirty and witness first-hand what this Peruvian give back was all about: instilling pride in their place of employment that supports Make a Miracle as well as other non-profits.
“I was reminded that kindness and love are contagious, it just starts with one small act,” said Emily Lacour, a volunteer who recently made the trek to San Juan de Lurigancho.
Stars and Strikes Family Entertainment Center believes that Corporate Social Responsibility gives Team Members something greater to be a part of that creates positive change in the world, as well as promotes unity and camaraderie at a time when it is more needed than ever.
Locally owned and operated, Stars and Strikes Family Entertainment Centers provide a friendly atmosphere for the whole family to enjoy. In addition to state-of-the-art bowling lanes, attractions include bumper cars, laser tag, arcade games and a bar and restaurant with healthy choices and classic American favorites. Stars and Strikes currently employ more than 1,500 people throughout Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina. For more information, visit www.StarsAndStrikes.com.
Make a Miracle was founded in 2015 by Carolyn and Jack Canouse. Based in Alpharetta, Georgia, its purpose is to give educational opportunities in the most impoverished and most populated district of Lima, Peru as a means of breaking the cycle of poverty. Visit MakeAMiracle.net for information.