Bowl for Kids Sake returned to Jacksonville over the weekend, as the new chapter of Big Brothers Big Sisters held the organizations signature fundraiser at the Bowl Inn downtown.
Brian Ganz says that the return of the event went better than expected.
“Well being back for the first time in a while I think it went great. Everybody had a great time, we were very pleased with the turn out we had, and I think it is a great springboard to next year when we can try to bring it back to what it once was.
We had about 220 bowlers. It’s hard to tell right now just how much re raised. We have a lot of matching dollars that are coming through from businesses and employers, but if I had to guesstimate I’d say we are at about $22,000 raised from the event.”
Ganz spearheaded the effort to bring a chapter of Big Brothers-Big Sisters back to Jacksonville following the closure of the existing Jacksonville chapter in early 2019.
Ganz says that he and his team are looking forward to, and are thankful for the next fundraiser, as it will give them the ability to focus on the work of the organization.
“The next fundraiser is actually going to be the .5K, the Kiwanis is giving us, it’s going to be on April 4th, we will be the recipient of the funds of that event so we hope everyone comes out. That’s from a fundraising side of things, but the nice thing about that event is, we as staff can focus on making matches until that event comes up.
We have had 12 referrals from Washington School withing the past month and we are going to be working hard to get them matched up before the .5K. Not sure we are going to be able to get them all matched by then but we’re going to do what we can.”
Ganz says that a Big Brothers Big Sisters match is no different that any other relationship in that it has it’s ups and downs, but the program works to match up Bigs and Littles with similar interests to help foster that friendship right from the start.
“We want them to just build that relationship so that they become friends and then we start to see a lot of improvement with the kids once that friendship is built in that they start doing better in school, they start thinking more about their future, they start making better decisions from having more self confidence in things of that nature.
So if anyone wants to get involved, there’s an enrollment process either as a child or a volunteer. What we want to do is to get to know the person getting involved, whether it is a parent or a volunteer, as best as we can so we can match them with someone that they are going to get along with and have fun with. And then once we do make a match, we provide professional support to them so that that match can continue to grow.?
Ganz says that the first step in becoming a Big is to attend an orientation.
To find out more information on how to become a Big Brother or Big Sister, or Little Brother or Sister, contact Ganz at the Jacksonville chapter office at 217-602-0023, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ganz says for area golfers to mark their calendars for a golf outing fundraiser that is being planned for May 22nd at the Jacksonville Links Golf Course. More details on the golf outing will be announced later this month.