By: Lorrie Ward Jackson | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: March 2011
(Back row, L to R): Travis Wilson (First Bank of Claremore), Jackie Taylor (Grand Bank), Jessica Wilbourn (Big Brothers Big Sisters of Oklahoma), Jessica Putz (Cherokee Casino Will Rogers Downs), Ron Burrows (Claremore Expo Center), (Front row, L to R): Megan Snyder (1st Bank), Francis Dudley (Wilson Lillie Appraisal), Jodie Grubbs (Keller Williams), and Savannah Haddock (RCB Bank).
Through the winds of March and the showers of April, we are reminded each spring of new beginnings – and it could be said that new beginnings are the constant focus of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Oklahoma. That is why they are once again hosting Bowl for Kids’ Sake, an annual fundraiser that brings the community together in a fun way to support a worthy cause.
“This premier fundraiser provides a way for mentors and their friends and families, as well as caring people who might not have time to mentor, to support Big Brothers Big Sisters,” says Jessica Wilbourn, area director. “Big Brothers Big Sisters of Oklahoma relies on funding to carefully match volunteers with children and provide ongoing support to sustain long-term one-to-one mentoring friendships.”
The event will stretch out over the last of March and beginning of April with six separate sessions: Monday, March 28 at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m., Tuesday, March 29 at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Saturday, April 2 at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Each session will be filled with fun activities: bowling, of course, along with a deejay, trivia games, door prizes and dinner. Bowling team members are asked to raise a minimum of $100 each in sponsorships, and it is not too early to register for this event. “Last year, the economy made things a little tougher, but this year things are much better,” says Jessica. “We have had people registering for the event long before the kickoff.”
Jessica would like to encourage everyone to not only participate in raising money during this event, but to consider becoming a “big” – big brother or big sister – themselves. She points to Ron Burrows of Claremore Expo Center as a perfect example of someone who has given of himself as a mentor and found the experience personally rewarding.
Ron and his wife were facing an empty nest. Their young ladies had grown up and moved away, but the Burrows still had all the wonderful things they had shared with their children, and Ron recounts that he hated to see it all sitting idle. “Kirk is my ‘little’ and it is so fun to see him driving the golf cart, riding and feeding the horses, and enjoying things that would otherwise go to waste,” Ron says, and adds with a big smile, “We have a hard time not spoiling him.”
Kirk’s enthusiastic response to the Burrows’ mentoring is indicative of the tone at Big Brothers Big Sisters. Even though the children often come from troubled or unfortunate family situations, Jessica points out that no one is forced to participate. “Children who are involved want to be here,” she says. “This creates a very positive environment for everyone involved in the program.”
Even if you are not able to be a big brother or big sister, you can still help this worthy cause by participating in Bowl for Kids’ Sake this spring. Jessica would also like to encourage anyone who has a child who needs a positive role model, mentor, and friend to contact Big Brothers Big Sisters of Oklahoma. “The best gift you can give your kids,” she says, “is more people to love them.”
For the gift of corporate sponsorship for Bowl for Kids’ Sake, Jessica would like to thank the following sponsors: Wings to Go; AlComm Communications; RCB Bank; 1st Bank; Pelco; Radio Shack; Dale Marlar, Attorney at Law; Bill Flanagan, CPA; Junior Ocieleta Club; Wal-Mart; Wilson Lillie Appraisal; AXH; Karen Bearden; Napoli’s; Suburban Chevrolet; Rogers State University; and Cherokee Casino Will Rogers Downs.