Big Brothers Big Sisters’ national Bowl For Kids’ Sake campaign kicked off at the Cedar Rapids Bowling Center located at 265 Blairs Ferry Road NE on January 8, 2014. Taking place at 11 a.m. CST, the event hopes to raise awareness and money needed to pair volunteer mentors with children who face adversity in staff-supported, long-term mentoring friendships, but also recognize Bigs as the celebrities they are in their Littles eyes during January, which is National Mentoring Month. The 2014 Bowl For Kids’ Sake season will be highlighted by the “10 PINS” – bowling pins that were dressed up, decorated and named as the ambassadors for Big Brothers Big Sisters’ largest national fundraiser.
Nine agencies and the Big Brothers Big Sisters National Office introduced the 10 PINS to the media on the Purple Carpet as they take off on a worldwide social media tour on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Along with National Bowl For Kids’ Sake mentors and mentees, the 10 PINS joined Big Brothers Big Sisters of America CEO and President Charles Pierson, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cedar Rapids CEO and President Linda Henecke, Jeanine Penticoff-Board President and Director with Alliant Energy for Energy Efficiency and Renewables and Platinum Sponsors: The Intermec Foundation and RuffaloCODY. Bowl For Kids’ Sake was named one of the Top 20 Athletic Fundraising events by the Run Walk Ride Fundraising Council after more than 40 years in existence and engages more than half a million people across the country to raise more than $21 million.
“We are honored and excited to host the nationwide kickoff of Bowl For Kids’ Sake in Cedar Rapids,” Henecke said. “These resources are vital to helping children across the country. The events raise significant dollars and we were proud to generate $379,000 locally last year, placing us 6th in the nation for bowling results.”
National Office President and CEO Charles Pierson said Bowl For Kids’ Sake serves as the fundraising foundation for Big Brothers Big Sisters, “Our agency in Cedar Rapids and the community here has developed an outstanding event with incredible support,” he said. “No matter how someone chooses to be involved—bowler, team captain, sponsor, or as a virtual bowler—each person has a hand in helping to start a child on the right path. Every dollar raised through Bowl For Kids’ Sake directly funds mentoring programs in the communities where events are held.”
“Being a Big Brother has been life changing for me,” said Big Brother Craig Byers. Big Brothers Big Sisters is celebrating Craig and the 200,000 Bigs during National Mentoring Month. Byers has mentored his Little Brother, Jeffery, for 5 years. His Little Brother Jeffery says he waited a year and a half for a Big Brother and he was incredibly excited when he finally met Craig.
Donor funds, such as those raised through Bowl For Kids’ Sake, enable Big Brothers Big Sisters to provide careful mentor matching and ongoing staff support that keeps one-to-one relationships going strong, while helping youth to overcome adversity and achieve lifelong success. As the nation’s largest mentoring network, the organization holds itself accountable for helping children achieve positive, measurable outcomes including educational success, avoidance of risky and delinquent behaviors, improved relationships, higher aspirations and greater confidence.