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Falcons visit Buford to bowl for charity

Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Kevin Cone congratulates Gabriel Landwer, 11, of Flowery Branch with a high five beside offensive lineman Garrett Reynolds during the ninth annual Challenged Child & Friends bowling event at the Oasis Bowling Center in Buford on Tuesday. Landwer's family is a supporter of the cause and Gabriel's grandmother works for Challenged Child & Friends a school located in Gainesville which serves children with all types of developmental disabilities. The bowling event was in an effort to help raise funds and awareness for Challenged Child & Friends.

Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Kevin Cone congratulates Gabriel Landwer, 11, of Flowery Branch with a high five beside offensive lineman Garrett Reynolds during the ninth annual Challenged Child & Friends bowling event at the Oasis Bowling Center in Buford on Tuesday. Landwer's family is a supporter of the cause and Gabriel's grandmother works for Challenged Child & Friends a school located in Gainesville which serves children with all types of developmental disabilities. The bowling event was in an effort to help raise funds and awareness for Challenged Child & Friends.

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Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Atlanta Falcons offensive linemen Garrett Reynolds and Joe Hawley celebrate a strike during the ninth annual Challenged Child & Friends bowling event at the Oasis Bowling Center in Buford on Tuesday.

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Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Atlanta Falcons Head Coach Mike Smith bowls during the ninth annual Challenged Child & Friends bowling event at the Oasis Bowling Center in Buford on Tuesday.

BUFORD -- It's a good thing Will Svitek and Matt Bosher were in Buford on Tuesday for a fundraising event and not an actual competition -- neither Atlanta Falcon, admittedly, is much of a bowler.

"I bowl like three times a year and it's always at some kind of function or charity event," Svitek, an offensive lineman, said during the event at Oasis Bowling Center. "Which is good I guess because I don't take myself too serious. I'm here for the cause, not for my bowling skills."

Said Bosher, the Falcons' punter: "I enjoy going bowling but I'm not necessarily very good. But for a good cause, definitely. I'd come out and bowl anytime."

The duo and about 16 teammates, two assistant coaches, a cheerleader and head coach Mike Smith all came out to the Buford bowling alley Tuesday evening for the Atlanta Falcons' ninth annual bowling benefit for Challenged Child and Friends.

The school, based in Gainesville, serves families throughout northern Georgia by offering a learning environment that intermingles developmentally challenged children with "typical" kids. The goal is to help challenged children ages 6 and under develop more fully in an inclusive environment.

Buford resident Jason Shoaf has two "typical" children -- Paul, 5, and Marissa, 3 -- enrolled at the school. They were all bowling a few lanes down from Smith on Tuesday.

"It's nice to see the community coming out to support the school," Shoaf said. "It does great things for the kids."

Marissa was probably a little too young to know exactly what was going on, but Shoaf said his son is a big Falcons fan. About 20 of the school's kids were at the event, which raised money for the school by renting lanes to local businesses or other supporters.

"(The kids) are awed by the size of the players," said J. David Earnest, CCAF's executive director. "The ones that are old enough have so much fun getting to meet the heroes. They may not know who they are, but they're football players. It's just a joy to watch them."

Amid the bowling, players, coaches and kids munched on steak and fixings donated by Outback Steakhouse's Suwanee location.

"Whatever we can do to help children," Svitek said, "we're going to do that."