OWEN SOUND – Big Brothers Big Sisters Bowl for Kids’ Sake will offer two days of bowling to raise money to help support young people through mentorship.
This year the newly expanded organization is piggy backing on the regular Friday night Rock ‘n Bowl event at The Bowling Alley on the Sunset Strip between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m., with The Millpond Project Band providing live music.
The event carries on Saturday with more bowling from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., when anyone can take the Bill Murdoch Challenge and try to beat radio show host and former Tory MPP’s bowling scores to win a prize. It costs $20 to take that challenge, which applies to games bowled any day this week.
The event raises between $25,000 to $30,000 annually for the youth mentoring programs, which have tripled since the organization resurrected the Big Sisters program and introduced an in-school mentoring program.
The event raises money through local business sponsorships, bowling pledges gathered by bowlers themselves, the Bill Murdoch Challenge and through a silent auction. Items in that auction are being revealed on the group’s Facebook page.
There are still some time slots available if people want to come out and bowl. Call Glenn Breadner at 519-376-5240 to book a time.
Mandi Lamb said even if people don’t want to bowl, they can check out the event and if they’re interested, pick up an application form to become a volunteer Big Brother or Big Sister.
Lamb started working for the organization last June, thanks to a Trillium grant, and began focussing on recruiting Big Sisters and growing the in-school mentoring program.
“Bigs” commit to one hour a week, spent with their Little Brother or Little Sister during school hours doing fun things there.
There’s in-school mentoring now in Alexandra, Hillcrest, Eastridge, St. Basil’s schools in Owen Sound, plus there are two group programs at Notre Dame Catholic School in the city. There are 12 Big Sisters and nine Big Brothers. Five Little Brothers are waiting for Big Brothers. All Little Sisters have Big Sisters right now.
“We really are seeing that the program is enjoyed and it’s needed. The kids in the program, they really want someone to hang out with, they want and extra voice in their life, someone that they can talk to,” Lamb said.
“And really, they’re coming with their own stories. Some of them are coming from a two-parent household where they have no siblings and they just want the experience of having a sibling.”
She’s one of two caseworkers with Big Brothers Big Sisters Owen Sound who match “Bigs” and “Littles”. They interview kids and their mentors to find pairs which share some interests.
The bowling event has added the second day because as the programs have expanded, so have the financial needs, Lamb said. Last year the organization introduced a June golf tournament fundraiser which will return this year.
Owen Sound Big Brothers, which formed in1964, decided in late 2016 to reconstitute itself as a combined Big Brothers/Big Sisters organization, which revived the Big Sisters group after an absence of roughly 10 to 15 years.
It received its most recent accreditation, which is good for five years, from the national governing body last February.
By Scott Dunn, Sun Times, Owen Sound