Thing 1 and Thing 2 left the Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) bowling fundraiser with big smiles after the event raised $21,000. The goal was to reach $20,000.
Held March 9 at Leisure Lanes Bowling Centre, the Dr. Seuss-themed fundraiser is the organization’s biggest of the year with funds going directly to programming.
Why Dr. Seuss? The team with the best costumes at last year’s event, the Ponoka Elementary School teachers, was able to decide on what the theme is. And most of the teams came decked out in their finest Dr. Seuss costumes.
For Beth Reitz, executive director, the fact that so many community members and businesses support the fundraiser makes the event fun for everyone involved.
“The fact that they’re supporting mentoring, they believe in it, otherwise they wouldn’t be here,” explained Reitz of the support.
“I think it shows too that they realize the importance of the mentoring programs that we offer,” added Morgen Chernick, program director.
Reitz said the corporate sponsorship is an easy sell because many of the businesses put in extra effort to support the programming. There are even a few that take part in the in-school mentoring program.
The real need for BBBS in Ponoka is in seeing more mentors. There’s a waiting list of 22 kids needing mentors, said Reitz.
Programming offered by BBBS brings teen mentoring (where teens go into the elementary school to be in-school mentors), in-school mentoring (which is one hour a week of in-school mentoring) and then traditional community-based mentoring.
Reitz said mentors usually start with the in-school program and eventually find their way into the traditional program.
“Something new we have noticed in the last couple of years are our hybrid matches,” added Chernick.
“So they are matches that started off in-school and then they’ve switched to community-based so they can see each other through the summer.”
This fundraiser helps ensure that BBBS can train more mentors for those kids on the waiting list.
Pledge collection prizes:
Individual first place: Natalie Reglin (from Boston Pizza)
Individual second place: Sara Lee Dennis (from the Co-operators)
Team first place: ATB
Youth first place: Serge and Avery Klimec
Costume prize: Ponoka Elementary School