By Jasmine Franklin
Big Brothers Big Sister’s of Ponoka is once again challenging the community to benefit the cause of children.
This year’s annual “Fun in the Sun” Bowl-A-Thon will take place April 16 to support mentoring programs within Big Brothers Big Sisters.
“This event is where we raise the largest portion of our programming funds,” said Morgen Chernick, program director for Ponoka’s Youth Centre. “This is a chance for people to come out and see what Big Brothers Big Sisters is about.”
Last year more than $19,000 was raised — this year’s goal is $15,000.
“This is a huge community event,” Chernick said. “All the money goes toward mentoring for youth, be it traditional, in-school or our other programs.”
Participants can enter the Bowl-A-Thon as a team or an individual. So far, there are 35 teams signed up and room for 13 more. Chernick said organizations and businesses can also help to sponsor.
Participants are given one hour to bowl between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. and are encouraged to sport their best “Fun in the Sun” clothing. The event will take place at Leisure Lanes Bowling.
“There are costume prizes and hourly draws as well as snacks and refreshments,” Chernick said. “Subway and Boston Pizza have also donated food.”
Big Brothers Big Sisters is a volunteer-based program that matches adults with children to mentor them. In-school mentoring is one hour per week on school property and traditional mentoring includes one-on-one time taking part in activities such as watching sports games, playing outside or just talking. Couples for Kids is for partners or spouses who would like to mentor a child together and lastly the Big Bunch program is a group mentor session supervised by adults that is aimed toward children on waiting lists for mentors.
In Ponoka, there are 62 youth enrolled in Big Brothers Big Sisters programs — more than half belong to the in-school program. All mentors must be over 18 years old and are screened by a police background check and intensive interview.
“It’s a small time commitment that makes a huge difference for these kids,” Chernick said. “Most of them become more happy, self-confident and outgoing. It’s a great program.”
Chernick encourages everyone to come out to the Bowl-A-Thon and have a good time. To sign up, contact Chernick at the Youth Centre (403) 783-3112. For additional information visit www.ponokayouthcentre.com