Big Brothers Big Sisters representative Kevin Clark gave more details about the upcoming Bowl for Kids’ Sake fundraiser at the kick-off luncheon on Thursday.
Clark called the main event, which will be held on February 16 and 17, “a festive thank-you for the fundraising.” This annual event is the group’s largest fundraiser of the year, contributing about a quarter of their operating budget, all of which goes toward creating matches between Grayson County kids and mentors.
The theme for this year’s event is Rock - Roll - Raise, and teams are encouraged to dress up as their favorite rock legend or rock band to add to the festivities. There will also be food and drinks provided along with two games of bowling and shoe rental. Door prizes will also be given throughout the event.
There are eight different time slots that your team can sign up to bowl, and Clark said he hopes to have 40 to 50 teams participating this year. Teams can chose from 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m., 5 p.m. or 7 p.m. on Saturday or 1 p.m., 3 p.m., or 5 p.m. on Sunday.
In order to participate, each person in your 4 to 6 person team needs to raise a minimum of $80, but is encouraged to raise more. Those who raise over $500 will have their name included in a raffle for a flat screen television or ipad 3.
Clark recommended some ways to raise funds, including the use of social media tools like facebook and twitter or offering services to friends in exchange for donations. “The more fun you have doing it, the more you will raise,” he said.
Businesses who are interested in raising funds and/or hosting a team may sell $1 pin-ups, which are available by contacting Clark. They can also sponsor a lane for $150 or donate door prizes or goodie bags. In exchange for sponsorships, the Bowl for Kids’ Sake group is happy to get the companies’ logos and information out at each of their events.
Last year, the group was able to raise a total of approximately $8,000 with the Grayson County event, but with $5,000 having already been donated for the 2013 event, this year’s goal is being set a little higher, at $12,000.
All of the fundraising efforts go toward Big Brothers Big Sisters, and Clark said it is all about “changing lives for the better, forever. And the ‘forever’ is the big part of that.”
Polling results have shown that of the kids who participate in the program, 90 percent reported that their mentor, called a ‘Big,’ helped them to make better choices. 77 percent said they are doing better in school as a result of their Big’s presence, and 76 percent said their Big helped them to learn right from wrong.
Clark said that many of these kids grow up to become volunteers themselves, and that this cycle helps the entire community, not just the children who participate.
One local Big, Peggy Bargail, who mentor’s a 10-year-old Caneyville girl, spoke at the luncheon about her personal experiences with the program.
Bargail said that she began with BBBS in May of last year. “I thought I was too old,” the recently-retired grandmother said. She has learned, however, that many other mentors are around her age, and that when it comes to helping area children, age is not really important.
Bargail and her “Little” have enjoyed doing lots of different activities together, including volunteering at the animal shelter, learning how to sew, swimming in Bargail’s pool, and making handmade Christmas gifts for her Little’s mom.
“I hope in some small way I can form memories for her life,” Bargail said.
These types of positive, enriching relationships are made possible through funds raised at events like Bowl for Kids’ Sake, Clark said, adding that in addition to raising money, he hopes people will be encouraged through this event to volunteer as a Big themselves.
“We will always have a waiting list [of kids],” he said, “It’s unfortunate, but true. My goal is to keep that list as short as possible.”
For more information about the Bowl for Kids’ Sake Rock Rock and Raise event, contact Clark at 270-259-0492 or Jill Grant at 270-769-5225.