We have reached the time of year again when Bowl For Kids’ Sake is right around the corner. On March 16, between five and six hundred people will gather together at our local bowling alley to support Big Brothers Big Sisters in their signature, annual fundraising event. This will be their 33rd year of hosting this event!
Green Valley has been a part of what BBBS does for nearly 4 years now.
Greg and Elizabeth both are invested in the program as “Bigs” and spend between an hour to an hour and a half with their “Littles” each week. They are able to hangout, play games, help with homework or simply share in a lunch break with their “little”. Though the investment is large for a child who needs some TLC it is also so rewarding to be a “Big”. Elizabeth puts it like this. “Being a “Big” gives me a chance to love on a kid with no expectation of anything in return. My “little” makes me smile, gives me the opportunity to color, laugh, have fun and just have the chance to “be”. I’m supposed to be leading, guiding and being a friend for a little girl – what ends up happening is that she gives me the freedom to laugh and be a “little girl” myself. Being a “big” is an opportunity and a privilege that I hope I never have to give up.”
There are so many ways that BBBS is in need of support and help.
For starters, Bowl for Kids Sake is an awesome event to attend and this doesn’t even require you to have bowling skills. (Although if you are competitive it may be helpful) You can register online to be a bowler and you can even create your own team of friends, family and coworkers! If you don’t want to test your bowling skills, no worries! You can donate to a bowler of your choice who will pick up the bowling ball for you. Green Valley will even have their own team and you can donate money to help us fund-raise. Through March 16 we will be collecting money for our Bowl For Kids Sake team. Our goal is to raise $1,000 and we will need your help. Whether you want to bowl with us or sponsor our team, we would love your support. This is something we really believe in and it is near and dear to our hearts.
If you are interested in becoming a “Big” so that you can bless and be blessed by a “Little” there is a small process that has a huge reward.
Step 1, reach out. You can go to BBBS website to connect with a staff member after you fill out their online inquiry form. An enrollment specialist will help you get the ball rolling with a background check and home visit and then they will take some time to learn about your interests and personality traits so that way they can match you with the perfect “little” that you can connect with on a personal level. You’ll be able to spend time doing things that the both of you love and enjoy, all while building a lasting friendship that will make an impact on the life of a child who matters. Depending on your situation and your “Little” you may even be able to apply for spending time with them outside of a school setting. Taking them to a baseball game, maybe a shopping trip, hike or a trip to the pool on a hot summer day while their parent is at work. There will always be a BBBS specialist there to help you out with any questions or issues that may arise. They are just as invested in the friendship between you and your “little” as you are.
There is also another huge step in what BBBS does. Parents.
Much of their success comes from you. BBBS does not just pick children who they feel would do well in the program. They need your support and that comes from parents who enroll their children into the BBBS program. As parents, we recognize the needs of our children. We understand that positive influences from other people and role models outside of our homes are great assets to our child’s learning and future. Once you have enrolled your child into the program, you are a part of the process every step of the way. You will provide information about your child’s interests, needs and strengths and you will even be given the opportunity to approve the “Big” that is selected for you child. Once the match is approved, you will be able to approve activities and outings for your “Little” and their “Big”. You will report your child’s progress to the agency on a regular basis. You will also be able to participate in Child Safety training that is instructed by a BBBS staff member. The communication between you, your child and their “Big” is important to us and we know that it will be important to you.
Every year Big Brothers Big Sisters is able to reach 500 kids in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County. That’s a huge number and an awesome impact on our local communities but there are still 100 children waiting for a “Big”. Waiting for a mentor. Waiting for a friend. Waiting for a positive influence.
The question is, what are YOU waiting for?
To learn more about Big Brothers Big Sisters, you can watch this interview that Greg and Elizabeth had with Lindsey, the Executive Director of BBBS.