Contributed by Amy Lalor, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Alaska
Bowl For Kids' Sake, Mat-Su 2017
3/18/2017 - 4PM
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Alaska, Mat-Su
3250 E Palmer-Wasilla Hwy. Wasilla
Register Online, Donations Accepted
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Alaska (BBBSAK) is a unique service organization. We match youth (Littles) with carefully screened mentors (Bigs).
Mentoring has been a long tradition in many cultures. BBBSAK offers a way to continue those traditions through professionally supported 1:1 mentoring. We are able to do this through carefully screening volunteers before they become Bigs. We also interview each Big, Little and Parent or Guardian and try to always make the best match possible based on preferences and interests.
These professionally supported matches meet 2-4 times per month in our community-based program, doing free or low-cost activities in the community that they both enjoy. This can be anything from doing quiet activities such as playing board games, baking or doing a craft, to hiking, biking, sports, 4-wheeling, snow machining, fishing and all the “Alaska” things. Bigs do not need to have a fancy job title to volunteer; we are always looking for volunteers willing to share some of their time with a Little doing things they already enjoy doing.
In our school-based program, matches meet once a week during the school day at select MSBSD schools spending time together working on class work, crafts, puzzles and games. High school students can volunteer to mentor to younger students in this program.
Some of the youth we serve are matched through programs geared towards specific populations.
Our Sync Program is specifically for youth ages 14-21 who are in or who have been in foster care. Sync matches youth with mentors who not only do fun activities with these youth, but the match might also work on some life skills together to ease the transition out of the foster care system and into adulthood.
Success through Education and Cultural Connection is a program specifically for Alaska Native/American Indian youth 9-12 years of age. In this program, matches are encouraged to find fun ways to work on academic goals as well as engage in match activities that are culturally relevant to the youth.
We currently have about twenty active matches in the Mat-Su and just as many youth waiting to be matched. We serve youth facing adversity ages 6-18.
Sustaining our programs costs money. It costs roughly $2500 per year to make and support one match by providing professional match support throughout the lifetime of a match.
We are only able to keep our doors open with community support through fundraisers, such as our upcoming Bowl for Kids’ Sake, Mat-Su.
This year’s Bowl for Kids’ Sake, Mat-Su will be held on Saturday March 18th at North Bowl, Wasilla.
Participating is easy, just visit www.bbbsak.org/bowl, come up with a fun team name, recruit a few friends, co-workers or family (we recommend 4-6 per team), and set a goal. Fundraising can all be done online, directly from the website or free app with text messaging, social media posts and email. We also have paper pledge sheets available if preferred. All of the funds raised here in the Valley stay here in the Valley to support our local programs.
Mat-Su Bowl for Kids’ Sake is a lot fun every year. The event itself is a thank you party for everyone who participates in the fundraiser. Teams that participate in fundraising are invited to bowl for free from 4:00-7:00 on March 18th and free food is provided. The local business community has donated some amazing prizes, raffle, and silent auction items. There will be prize packages for top fundraising individual as well as top teams. We have some really cool items this year and we post items on our Facebook page as they come in @bbbsakmatsu.
A strong, healthy, resilient community starts with strong, healthy, resilient youth. Building resiliency in youth builds a foundation for a lifetime of positive decision-making and the ability to bounce back from setbacks. Having a caring adult that a youth can trust and turn to for guidance and support has been shown again and again in studies to be the number one key factor to building resiliency in youth.
For more information about volunteering as a Big, enrolling a youth or participating in Bowl for Kids’ Sake contact our Mat-Su office at 907-376-4617 or firstname.lastname@example.org.