Bowl for Kids Sake

'Make an impact in our community'

MARK NANCE/Sun-Gazette Gideon Reeder, 4, son of Ward and Jennifer Reeder of Mill Hall sends the ball down the floor during the Big Brothers Big Sister Bowl for Kids' Sake at Faxon Lanes Saturday. The event also featured gift baskets, and a 50/50 raffle as well as bowling to raise mony for the organization.

Bowl for Kids’ Sake serves as the biggest annual fundraiser for the Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring program. Lycoming County Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bridge will hold their annual fundraiser, “Bowl for Kids’ Sake,” from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Faxon Lanes, 1225 River Ave., Williamsport.

Lycoming County Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bridge is unique in that Lycoming County Children and Youth partnered with Catholic Social Services and provide Big Brothers Big Sisters with caseworkers/program specialists to manage the program.

“Because of this uniqueness, Bowl for Kids’ Sake is the only fundraiser Lycoming County is required to do,” said Wala Tillman, a caseworker at Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bridge in Lycoming County. “The money raised helps support our matches and waiting list children.”

Each year, half a million people across America come together to have fun and raise money to support Big Brothers Big Sisters, and Bowl for Kids’ Sake is BBBS’s signature fundraiser.

“This is a perfect way for individuals to make an impact in our community,” Tillman said. “A little bit of effort is all it takes to raise money vital to our program’s success.”

Bowl for Kids’ Sake participants can put together a team of five bowlers with friends, family, co-workers or neighbors and register to bowl. No experience is required. Participants must bowl one game and are encouraged to raise at least $50 in pledges.

The more money they can raise, the more prizes they can win. No matter what their score, each bowler will be a winner in the eyes of kids who need a Big Brother or Big Sister.

“Our community really comes together with donations and participation in the event,” Tillman said. “Faxon Bowling Lanes has been a great host; and businesses, employers, neighbors, friends and family members get to come out and have fun bowling, making our (Bowl for Kids Sake) a success.”

Bowl for Kids’ Sake gives Tillman the opportunity to see the impact their volunteers have on the youth they mentor.

“Many of our matches participate in the event and even children waiting to be matched come out and have fun,” she said. “I get to see how relationships have grown and hear more of what the youth have accomplished. It also makes me proud to see many of our businesses support our event and to have fun bowling.”

Last year, Big Brothers Big Sisters raised over $10,000, but this year they hope to have many more teams bowling and beat last year’s donations.

“The donations provide much needed support to our matches and waiting list youth,” Tillman said. “The hope is that we continue to exceed each year’s donations and bowling teams.”

Since its inception in 1974, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bridge has strived to provide high quality mentoring services to the children and families of Northeastern Pennsylvania. It currently serves eight counties and sites including Carbon, Columbia, Hazleton, Lycoming, Monroe, Montour, Wilkes-Barre and Wyoming.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Lycoming County, an affiliate of Catholic Social Services, struggled with programmatic and financial issues in the past, which led to the program closing in July 2014. In November 2015, Catholic Social Services, in conjunction with Lycoming County Children & Youth Services, joined together so Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bridge could serve residents of Lycoming County.

“We currently have 26 matches and 18 children on the waiting list,” she said. “We are always recruiting, especially for male volunteers, and we have ongoing recruitment efforts to find mentors for our children on the waiting list.”

For more information, call 570-433-3193.