After the tribulations of the fall and early winter, Big Brothers Big Sisters Cranbrook has come back strong. Proof of this is in a fundraising event held earlier this month — Bowl For Kids’ Sake — which exceeded all expectations.
In November, BBBS released a statement to media notifying the community that they were struggling with a short-term financial crisis and needed financial support to continue operating.
The community responded to the call for support with overwhelming generosity. December was a turning point for the organization; as many local businesses and individuals rallied behind BBBS.
“We had some troubles just before the beginning of the New Year,” said BBBS Executive Director Jordan MacDonald.”We let the community know, and since then we’ve really been feeling the momentum from the community.”
The Bowl for Kids’ Sake fundraiser was held at Juniper Lanes in Cranbrook, Friday, April 7. The event rain previously for many years, but MacDonald explained BBBS put it a year’s hiatus during some staff transitions. “But we brought it back this year, with a new energy and a new life.”
BBBS initially wanted to keep the event relatively small.
“There were six team lanes that we wanted to sell,” MacDonald said. “We decided we’d start off small — we didn’t want to build it too big too soon. But due to all of the interest we received throughout March, we ended up bringing in 20 teams, and 100 bowlers. So it was a lot bigger than we intended it to be.”
The teams of five collected pledges in the community, aiming for at least $100 in pledges per team. The fundraising goal was set at $15,000.
“We raised $19,000,” MacDonald said so we blew that goal out of the water.”
The funds raised will stay in the community, to benefit BBBS Cranbrook. “A lot of it is just to continue operating, because we do offer our services free of charge,” MacDonald said. “It helps to have professionally trained staff who can carefully screen our matches, our volunteers, making sure they’re in long-term safe mentoring relationships, and also providing ongoing managing and support for volunteers, children and families.
“Just insuring that we are providing the highest quality mentorship to the children in our communities.”
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cranbrook is a non-profit organization and registered charity in operation in Cranbrook since 1977. It has grown to include a variety of community and school based programs ,both one-to-one and in groups. But the priority remains one-to-one mentoring relationships for boys and girls ages six to sixteen.
“We do have a waiting list,” MacDonald said. “But we’ve sort of started fresh. We’re rebuilding. So it’s a good time for parents to get their children on the waiting list.”
There is a need for volunteers as well.
“We’re always looking for volunteers, in fact. We have several little brothers on our waiting list who’ve been waiting for quite some time for someone to spend some time with them.”
BBBS is looking for volunteers in a mentor capacity, and also board members, MacDonald added.