Wanting to help out – Big Brothers Big Sisters

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“It’s not about bowling, it’s about kids!” was the slogan displayed this weekend at Sierra Lanes where Big Brothers Big Sisters was hosting its second wave of tournaments for its annual Bowl for Kids’
Sake event.

Walking into the alley at noon I heard the booming sounds of bowling balls hitting the waxed floor and slamming into twelve pins, knocking them all down. Strike!

That was the first of several strikes I witnessed, and after each one the team would cheer. In fact after ever attempt, even gutter balls, the team would rejoice and so did the opposing team.

It was an amazing energy in the air and I could tell the bowlers weren’t there to compete, but rather there to support an organization helping children in the Central Valley for years.

As a reporter, I always try to stay in the background, not distracting the bowlers like nosy paparazzi, but remaining an objective observer. However, I couldn’t help but feel excited with the participants, especially the children, after talking to event coordinators and knowing exactly what the event meant.

Thursday night a similar, but smaller, tournament took place in the Fresno State bowling alley. Shauna Goodman of Big Brothers Big Sisters said that only eight of the 12 lanes were full, but they managed to raise a gross amount of $1,800 toward the organization.

When asking Goodman about how the funds are spent, she went into some detail about Fresno’s children and the lives some in non-traditional homes lead.

Think of the historical term eight-hour orphan; that’s exactly what some kids with a single working parent become. They come home to a house with no adult to help them with their homework or play scrabble with and they learn to live on microwavable dinners.

Granted this is an extreme case, but the fact is that many kids lack a role model in their lives.

“Mom isn’t always available to help them with schoolwork,” Goodman said. “So sometimes their grades drop, they get discouraged, and then they turn to the streets.”

The goal of Big Brothers Big Sisters is to prevent this from happening by giving children mentors and Bowl for Kids’ Sake is a fun way for current volunteers, kids in the program, and those in the community to raise cash for the cause.

Watching the spectacle I couldn’t help but long to be a part of it. Even with my hectic schedule I was tempted to go and sign a stack of papers and start the interview process right then and there.

It was the children’s faces that got me; the laughter and joy in “littles” there with their “bigs” and the curiosity and hope shining through in those kids still waiting for the right mentor to come along and take them under their wing.

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