For Big Brothers Big Sisters of Pictou County, 40 years does not seem that long.
This year, they are celebrating their 40th anniversary of serving children and youth through mentoring programs and are kicking off the year of celebration with their signature event, Bowl for Kids Sake.
Margie Grant-Walsh, executive director says, “For an event that was only supposed to last five years, we have done extremely well at engaging the community. It is obvious that the community truly believes in the services we provide for children and youth.”
The first Bowl for Kids Sake, formerly known as Bowl for Millions, was held on February 11, 1981 raising $16,716. Grant-Walsh adds, “The event started out at the beginning engaging everyone in the community which I believe was a testament to how we still run the event. This is a community event, supported by the community and the services are for our community.”
Marking this milestone in the organizations’ history, the theme of the event will be “Tiaras and Ties” and hopes to be a grand celebration of 40 years of service while at the same time raising funds and volunteers for children on the wait list. Grant-Walsh states, “Bowl for Kids Sake is one of our largest fundraisers, but we really want to focus this year on recruiting volunteers. With well over 150 children waiting, serving these children is our goal.”
The organization has named special co-chairs for the event for a reason, Stacey Murphy, Little Sister 1981, and Bob Curley, founding board member 1980. Both have had a connection and continue to support the local organization, Murphy as a former Little Sister who was matched in 1981 with her Big Sister Debbie Bowden, and Curley who was the first, founding board member as well as being a Big Brother in university.
Murphy says, “Big Brothers Big Sisters helped me be who I am today, matching me with a Big Sister, a lifelong friend I could always count on … someone who taught me to love myself and to love others as they are … valuable life lessons. My Big Sister Debbie was more than a Big Sister. Up until she passed away in October, I spoke with her regularly looking for advice.”
Curley adds, “I have been involved in my community for a number of years. One of the organizations I have participated in was Big Brothers Big Sisters. I’m so proud we were able to start this program and fulfill the needs of our community.”
Trish Fraser, president of the organization says, “We are thrilled to have Bob Curley and Stacey Murphy as our co-chairs of this year’s Bowl for Kids! What a gift it is for us to be able to welcome Bob back and showcase how our organization has grown since his dedication as a founding board member and to have Stacey join him as living proof and true testament to what Big Brothers Big Sisters of Pictou County can do for youth in our community.”
Bowl For Kids Sake is a major fundraiser held across Canada supporting Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies. Pledges are collected and individuals, businesses, families and organizations bowl during the campaign. There will be a variety of events during March and April including the Swiss Chalet Wii Bowling School Challenge held in elementary schools, with the larger event, Superbowl Saturday, on April 4.
To kick off the event, a free pancake and sausage breakfast will take place on Feb. 7 from 7:30-9 a.m. at the Nova Scotia Community College. Ann and A.J. from The Mix 94.1 will be there to help promote the cause, with breakfast being served by Chef Gilles Godin and his culinary students. This is when distribution of bowl packages will take place and the start of registration. With a goal of $65,000, the organization is hoping for the community’s support once again in its 40th year.
Participants and donors are encouraged to visit their website www.bowlforkidssake.ca were you can register to bowl, set up a team, or donate to a bowler or just make a straight contribution. Receipts are generated instantly; credit cards can be used, and you can see the pledges climbing as donations roll in. This cuts down on administration costs of producing receipts after the event.
Grant-Walsh states, “We are excited for this 40th year kick off event and have so much planned during the year, a Family Fun Day, a mentoring celebration and much more.”
For more information or to register a team call 902-752-6260.
Bob Curley, honorary co-chair and founding member of the board of directors of Big Brothers Big Sisters, with Stacey Murphy, left, Little Sister 1981 and executive director, Margie Grant-Walsh. (Submitted photo)