Contributed by Amy Lalor
Bowl for Kids' Sake, Mat-Su
3/31/2018 - 4PM
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Alaska, Mat-Su
North Bowl Wasilla
3250 E Palmer-Wasilla Hwy. Wasilla
At Big Brothers Big Sisters of Alaska, we match youth that we call “Littles”, with carefully screened mentors that we call Bigs. 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 quiet activities such as board games, homework, 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 any special skills to volunteer. We are always looking for folks with a positive outlook who are willing to share some of their time with a Little, doing things they already enjoy doing.
In our school-based programs, 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 be a mentor to younger students in this program.
Some of the youth we serve are matched through programs geared towards specific populations.
Our Sync Program, which is specifically for youth ages 14-21 who are in or aging-out of foster care, matches youth with mentors who not only do fun activities with them, but also work on 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.
There are currently over 30 active matches in the Mat-Su and just as many youth waiting to be matched. Sustaining our programs costs money. It costs roughly $2,500.00 per year to support one match by providing professional match support throughout the lifetime of a match. Matches are funded through various sources, including state and federal grants, support from Thrive Mat-Su and fundraisers such as our upcoming Bowl for Kids’ Sake, Mat-Su.
Community support through events like Bowl for Kids’ Sake is our greatest funding source and allows us to continue to serve more local youth. Developing 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 set-backs.
This year’s Bowl for Kids’ Sake, Mat-Su will be held on Saturday, March 31st at North Bowl, Wasilla.
To participate is easy, just visit www.bbbsak.org/bowl, come up with a fun team name, recruit a few friends, co-workers or family members (we recommend 4-6 per team) and set a fundraising goal. Fundraising can be done mostly online, whether it’s directly from the website, through social media posts or 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.
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 4:00pm-7:00pm on March 31st and free food is provided by local businesses. The local business community has also donated some amazing prizes, raffle and silent auction items. There will be prize packages for top fundraising individuals, as well as top teams. Bowl for Kids’ Sake, Mat-Su is a lot fun! Grab a group of your friends, co-worker, civic club members, church group members, work out buddies, etc. and join in the fun this year!
Having a caring adult that a youth can turn to and trust for guidance and support has been shown again and again in studies to be the number one key factor in building resiliency in youth.
For more information about volunteering as a Big or participating in Bowl for Kids’ Sake, contact our Mat-Su office at 907-376-4617 or firstname.lastname@example.org.