Bowling event to raise money for Big Brothers Big Sisters

Paige Crawford and Paige Crawford

One strike can lead to a better future for one child in need as the 2014 Bowl for Kid’s Sake will takes place this Saturday at Al-Mar Lanes.

The event is split into three waves: 11:00 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. and is hosted by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Ohio.

The group is a non-profit organization that helps children, their families and communities by providing mentor services and creating a home away from home.

Bowling teams are comprised of not only “bigs” and their “littles” in the organization, but also community members.

Each member was required to collect $30 or more in donations [students up through college were required to collect $25 each] to support Big Sisters of Northwestern Ohio.

For every $100 raised, the player will be entered into a prize drawing. Prizes vary from Cracker Barrel gift cards to a seven-night trip to Antigua.

“It’s amazing the kind of prizes we received this year,” said Melva Powers, the event coordinator.

Incentives play a large role in raising money for the organization.

“Most of the kids come from low income, single-parent families so it is important that we raise as much money as possible,” Powers said.

According to Livestrong, children who live in families at or below the federal poverty level tend to have lower academic achievement scores.

During the year, volunteers from the University and the community helped the kids with activities and after school programs.

Sharnice Rogers, a University senior, knows what it feels like to be a product of a low income family.

She was raised by a single parent and had four other siblings.

Her mother enrolled them in Big Brothers Big Sisters in Detroit because she had to work most of the time and did not want them to be at home by themselves.

“At first I felt shy about saying I went to Big Brothers Big Sisters,” Rogers said.

But now that Rogers is older she has a different perspective.

“The experience I gained from my Big was amazing. I not only gained another sister at heart but she helped me not turn into another statistic from Detroit. Everyone already thinks badly about Detroit,” Rogers said.

Rogers is just one of the many success stories.

“I know many of our “bigs” and “littles” who still keep in touch today,” Powers said.

Big Brothers Big Sisters are in need of male mentors and also of children between the ages of five and 15.

Caitlin Sullivan, the case manager for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Wood and Ottawa counties, has firsthand experience with a “little.”

In June 2012 Sullivan became a Big Sister and the experience has been “nothing but fun” for her, she said.

Now as an employee for the organization, she sees the desperate need for not only “bigs” but funds for the non-profit.

Powers has been with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Ohio for 14 years and has been helping with this event ever since.

For people unable to make a donation for the Bowling for Kid’s Sake, Big Brothers Big Sisters is always looking for help.

In order to become a “big,” an individual must complete a background check, send in three references, have an interview and spend time with a “little” at least twice a week.

“We match by compatibility,” Powers said.