On Friday, April 28, military personnel will be swapping out their combat boots for a pair of bowling shoes, as they, along with local businesses, will be doing what they can to show support for Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) of Cold Lake.
As a non-profit organization, BBBS relies on fundraising events like Bowl for Kids Sake to provide funding for their mentoring programs for kids.
As part of this event, each team of four or five participants is required to collect pledges. Their pledges are their ticket into the event the day of.
Donna Benoit, program facilitator for BBBS of Cold Lake, said she is hoping each person will raise a minimum of $100. If BBBS were to fill all 60 slots with teams, and each team were to consist of four or five players, they could easily go above and beyond their $15,000 goal.
There is also a little incentive. The person who raises the most wins a barbecue package, just in time for summer, Benoit said, adding all of the money raised in Cold Lake is used to fund the local programs.
Families are invited for the drop-in event from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 29. Both events take place at the Marina Bowling Centre in Cold Lake.
One of the programs Big Brothers Big Sisters offers is teen mentoring. They also bring mentors into local elementary schools where they interact with kids one on one and help them with homework.
“I think it’s so important (this organization). There is research that shows that mentored kids stay in school, are more likely to graduate, and are less likely to bully or be bullied,” explained Benoit. “Any child can benefit from one more caring, positive role model in their life.”
“It makes a huge different,” she continued.
At this time, BBBS has 40 kids in the area matched with mentors within all of the programs offered. There are kids on a wait list from as far as Bonnyville, patiently waiting for their chance to be paired up for the mentoring program.
“We have one little guy who has been on that list for about a year now, just waiting for a volunteer in Bonnyville. His mom has said to just leave him on there in the case that we do get a match. We do have that possibility to grow,” said Benoit.
However, the organization may have to consider cutting back if their event is unsuccessful.
“It’s all based on funding,” Benoit emphasized. “If we don’t have the funding, we don’t have man hours.”
In hopes of raising more money, they are also including a 50/50 draw. Tickets will be available at the event and can be spotted throughout the community in the weeks following.
The theme for this year’s Bowl for Kids Sake is ‘keeping it country’. Cowboy hats, boots, and belt buckles are encouraged.
For more information, or to sign-up a team, call Benoit at 780-826-9289, or visit their website, bbbscoldlake.ca.