Dream Big 5K


Contributed by Amy Lalor

2nd Annual Dream Big 5K
10/7/2018 – 1PM
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Alaska
Downtown Palmer Pavilion
S Valley Way, Palmer
Tickets: $10 Youth (Ages 0-18), $20 Adults

At Big Brothers Big Sisters of Alaska (BBBSAK), youth (Littles) are matched with carefully-screened mentors (Bigs). These professionally-supported matches meet 2-4 times per month in the community-based program, doing free or low-cost activities in the community that they both enjoy. This can be anything from playing board games, doing homework, baking or doing a craft, to hiking, biking, sports, 4-wheeling, snow machining, fishing and more. Sometimes the simplest activities have the biggest impact!

Here is the story of one our matches that have been meeting for over two years:
Name of Big(s): Sara Schindler
Name of Little: Maeve
Match Date: 7.01.16
Age of Little: 11

This match shows how the time together is much more important than the activity. The match meets almost every single weekend, often keeping their activities simple by playing board games or spending time together outside. They focus on being together and the activity is always secondary to that. Sometimes, they play sports at a local health club or attend a free activity at the Menard Center. Last summer when the weather was nice, they went kayaking several times. For their one-year match anniversary, they went to Hatcher’s Pass to recreate their very first activity together.

When our staff asked Little Sister Maeve what she likes best about her Big she said, “She's fun… I just like doing stuff with her… I just like to get out of the house and do stuff!”

The match is mutually-beneficial, as Big Sister Sara enjoys her time with her Little too: “Maeve’s mom tells me how much she appreciates me, and so I know her family likes the program and that we were matched together too. I am happy with how the match is going.” Maeve’s mother, Brenna, is certainly appreciative, she recently told staff, “Maeve always wanted a literal big sister and that's pretty much what she got with Sara, it’s just perfect.”

Our mission at BBBSAK is to provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally-supported 1-to-1 relationships that change their lives for the better, forever.

Our vision is that all children achieve success in life.

These relationships have long-lasting positive impacts on youth that ripple out into our whole community. In a recent national survey of former Littles matched in our program, 83% agreed that their Big instilled values and principles that have guided them through life; 67% agreed that their Big played a role in their decision to attend college; 85% agreed that their experience in our program influenced them in overcoming adversity or problems with courage; and 81% agreed that their Big changed their perspective of what they thought possible.

There are currently over 30 matches here in the Mat-Su, and many more waiting to be made. The cost to make and professionally-support each match for a year is about $2,500. This can include things like our child safety training materials, background checks, agency activities for matches and staffing. Community support is the greatest source of funding to make and support new matches throughout the year.

This year, the 2nd Annual Dream Big 5K Fundraiser will be on Sunday, October 7th at 1:00PM, starting and ending at the downtown Palmer Pavilion. This fun run/walk supports Big Brothers Big Sisters of Alaska’s local programs right here in the Mat-Su!

Costumes are once again encouraged! The timed 5K will also include a free pizza party for participants and medals will be awarded to the top three finishers for men and women in the youth, adult and senior categories. Participation ribbons will be given to all finishers.

This fun run/walk is not only fundraiser, but also an opportunity for all of us as community members to role model healthy choices for the youth in our lives by getting out, staying active and having fun together as a community! Participating in the Dream Big 5K is a simple way to get involved and to help make those connections that continue to strengthen our community. The route is flat and is mostly on sidewalks and bike trails, with some gravel sections, and great for runners/walkers of any level of fitness.

Register at www.RunSignup.com: $25 for adults and $15 for youth (18 & under). We also welcome “virtual runners” if you would like to donate, but prefer not to participate in-person; please feel free to register and donate through the Dream Big 5K registration page or give us a call.

For more information about volunteering as a Big or participating in the Dream Big 5K, contact the Mat-Su office at (907) 376-4617 or amy.lalor@bbbsak.org.