Big Brothers Big Sisters Morden-Winkler Executive Director Michael Penner and Winkler Mayor Martin Harder are ready for Bowl For Kids Sake 2018 on March 24, 2018. (GREG VANDERMEULEN/Winkler Times)
The Big Brothers Big Sisters Morden-Winkler Bowl for Kids Sake 2018 will take place March 24 at Valley Bowling Lanes in Winkler.
Executive Director Michael Penner and Winkler Mayor Martin Harder were at the bowling alley Feb. 12 to launch the annual fundraiser that has a target of raising $35,000.
“It is our biggest fundraising event in terms of dollars,” Penner said. “It’s absolutely vital for us to meet our financial goals, to have it be a success is important.”
“It’s also a very fun, community event with a lot of people coming together, businesses coming together to bowl and have some fun,” he added.
This year’s event is called the “Olympic Edition” and participants are encouraged to dress up in Team Canada apparel or as their favourite sport.
The event has been held for many decades and Penner said it’s exciting to see that with the longevity has come success.
“I think the reason for the success is the community’s behind it,” he said. “There are people who enjoy it year after year. They come and support it and they never miss, which is amazing for us.
Teams of four can fundraise or pay a registration of at least $260 to enter.
Last year 176 area residents came out.
There are also great prizes up for grabs including a night out in Winnipeg valued at $450, Children’s Museum Package ($150), Sports Movie Package ($200), Apple TV, Minnewasta golf passes, symphony and theatre tickets and much more.
There will also be a silent auction.
The event will also feature a photo booth.
Penner said they are dealing with challenges.
“It’s been a good adventure as far as expanding our service area into Altona and our mentoring here in Winkler and Morden... we’re trying to grow that as well,” he said.
Penner said in his position it’s not hard to see the impact that is made.
“I see the impact so clearly,” he said. “With every child, everyone that gets matched, they improve and it’s astounding how just a little bit of time spent with a mentor will change a life, increase their self-confidence...”
“They do better in school, they have healthy relationships, the mentoring benefits are just enormous,” he said.
The organizations does need more mentors, and Penner said they ask for a one year commitment and one to three hours per week.
Mayor Martin Harder said Big Brothers Big Sisters is an important part of making a better community.
“In society these days it’s extremely important to have a mentor figure,” he said. “Unfortunately we have a lot of single family homes and so the mentors aren’t readily available, both girls and guys.”
Harder said the organizations helps ensure kids can grow and mature.
“I think the organization provides a tremendous stabilization factor within our community (and) fits extremely well with the safe community initiative,” he said.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Morden-Winkler currently serves 90 children and youth and offers one-to-one mentoring, in-school mentoring, couples for kids, Kicks for Kids and Go Girls!.
People interested in forming teams or donating can call BBBS at 204-325-9707, or visit the website at https://pembinavalley.bigbrothersbigsisters.ca.