Local group volunteers raise money, bowl for organization

Story by The Spectator Staff

On Tuesday, May 1, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwestern Wisconsin held their annual Bowl for Kids’ Sake fundraiser at Wagner’s Lanes in Eau Claire.

Bowl for Kids’ sake is a non-competitive event consisting of games, prizes, raffles and limbo, among other activities. The Big Brothers Big Sisters website says that about half a million people participate in this event nationwide.

Development and Marketing Coordinator Christina Thrun said she noticed an increase in participation this year.

“Last year we had eight lanes on opening night,” she said. “This year we have 20 lanes each of the four nights. We are expecting around 700 bowlers this year.”

The theme of this year’s Bowl for Kids’ sake is “Happy Birthday Big Brothers Big Sisters,” as the organization is celebrating 40 years.

Thrun said the goal of the fundraiser is to help find compatible matches for the “littles.”

According to the Big Brothers Big Sisters website, after registering and setting up a team fundraising goal, participants recruit four people to join the team, motivate the team to raise money for Big Brothers Big Sisters and have a good time.

“The money (earned) stays within the community,” Thrun said. “It goes into recruiting and enrolling the volunteers, recruiting and enrolling the children, making that match and then the ongoing match support.”

However, Thrun said most of the money raised goes towards the staff’s time.

“We have to make sure they are a safe person,” she said. “We also have to make sure their likes and dislikes are compatible with the child.”

She said the children who are in the program have a higher self-confidence, are more likely to go to and graduate from college and have better relationships with their families.

According to the Big Brothers Big Sisters website, 83 percent of the little brothers and sisters are more self-confident, 65 percent perform better academically and 48 percent are better able to avoid substance abuse.

Thrun also said the ultimate goal is to create long-lasting relationships, where she says the real impact is seen. She also estimated that there are 80 children waiting to be matched with a “big.”

She also said the event required no skill, but just a desire to have fun.

“The worse you bowl,” she said, “the more fun you’ll have.”