DeKALB – Thirteen-year-old Brandon West spent his Friday night volunteering his time and skills for the community.
West, a student at Sycamore Middle School, came to Mardi Gras Lanes at 1730 Sycamore Road in DeKalb to support Big Brothers Big Sisters of DeKalb County during its 32nd annual Bowl for Kids’ Sake fundraiser.
A member of TBC Net’s bowling team, West said the event was the most fun he’s had while doing community service.
Cohen Barnes, president and CEO of TBC Net in DeKalb, said contributing to events such as Bowl for Kids’ Sake and organizations such as Big Brothers Big Sisters is important to his company and the community.
“If the community is strong, it indirectly benefits us [as community members],” he said.
Courtney Dennison, director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of DeKalb County, said all the money raised from the event stays in the community. The event continues today and Sunday at Mardi Gras Lanes and March 10 at Idle Hour Lanes in Sandwhich.
Dennison hopes to raise about $55,000 this year. The event brings in 60 percent to 70 percent of Big Brothers Big Sisters’ annual income, so it plays a major role in the future of the organization.
“Without a successful event, we really can’t keep a program like this around,” she said.
Before the Bowl for Kids’ Sake event, the organization encouraged each bowler to raise at least $75.
Jill Tritt, a bowler for the Foster and Buick Law Group team from Sycamore, went above and beyond her goal, raising $205 for the organization.
She said the secret to getting pledges was simple: Just ask.
“The worst they can say is no,” she said.
Big Brothers Big Sisters hit a fundraising low a few years ago, but leaders hope eventually to increase their funds, Dennison said. She also hopes more people will not only donate money, but their time as well.
She said the organization is always looking for volunteers to be “Bigs,” or mentors for nearly 50 children currently on the waiting list. Some of the children have been on the list for more than three years.
“I think the need is at a really high point,” she said.
Dennison, who’s been a mentor for about six years, said the children in the community greatly benefit from the mentoring programs they offer. Big Brothers Big Sisters, which is part of the Family Service Agency, has been in DeKalb County for more than 40 years.
“I really think Big Brothers Big Sisters is extremely important to our community,” she said.
To become a “Big,” fill out an online application at realsolutionstoday.org or contact Laura Nolan at 815-758-8616.