In a little less than two weeks, hundreds of bowlers will hit the lanes for a day of fun aimed at giving a boost to the local chapter of Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS).
As has been the case for the better part of two decades, those bowlers will arrive in droves to Parkside Lanes Sunday, March 3 for the annual “Bowl for Kids’ Sake,” a fund-raising endeavor the significance of which simply cannot be understated for BBBS.
And the biggest beneficiaries will be the children of Decatur County.
“Kids are the backbone of the future of our community,” said BBBS executive director Bev Karazsia. For nearly 30 years, Karazsia has seen the impact the programs of BBBS can have on children. It’s a cyclical process in which many of those children who once found themselves mentored by a “Big Brother” or “Big Sister” turn around and reciprocate the favor for a new generation. Time and again, she’s seen these children grow up, go on to lead productive lives and give back to their communities. That’s the message Karazsia hopes to spread to would-be bowlers and others wishing to help the organization.
“These are our kids,” she said recently at the BBBS office. “If they saw how the kids respond, they’d see the value of our programs.”
It’s a value Karazsia and many others have clearly seen for some time, but this year has proven a bit more difficult in spreading the word than in some years past.
Karazsia said this year’s number of bowlers is on par with those of 2011, but the amount of participants has decreased from the impressive turn-out of a year ago. BBBS is asking bowlers to assemble teams of five, raising at least $50 each in order to participate. This entry fee allows for one game of bowling to be played and also covers the cost of shoes and snacks which will be available the day of the event.
The lower number of bowlers planning to take part this year can be remedied, Karazsia said, by telling friends, neighbors, relatives, co-workers and anyone else who might have an interest in lending a hand or two to the event.
And time is of the essence.
Karazsia said many of the early slots have been filled for the March 3 fundraiser. Those hoping to hit the lanes at 10 a.m. may be out of luck, while the noon to 1 p.m. time slots are essentially filled as well. The executive director noted teams can still sign up for the 11 a.m. time slot in addition to having the option of finding a spot during the afternoon. The event lasts until 5 p.m.
There are presently four ways to register teams for this year’s Bowl for Kids’ Sake, the easiest of which is simply by calling the organization at 663-7556. Entrants may also email Katie Stoffel at firstname.lastname@example.org, send a fax to 812-662-0456, or mail a registration form to the BBBS office at 420 South Michigan, Greensburg.
No matter how one chooses to enter, a spot will be reserved alongside his or teammates. Entrants will also receive this year’s commemorative t-shirt for the event.
And if the thought of spending some time at a bowling alley isn’t one’s first choice for recreational fun, there are several other ways local citizens can take part.
A silent auction will run simultaneously with the bowling event. All are invited to place bids on items such as an autographed photo of Indianapolis Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri, as well as tickets to popular vacation destinations such as King’s Island, the Indianapolis Zoo, Dinosaur World, Squire Boone Caverns and more.
For those who choose to bowl, an assortment of prizes will be available. Adults may win movie passes to Wolf Theaters while students could take home the delicious prospect of having a free Papa John’s Pizza delivered to his or her door once a month — for an entire year.
All that aside, organizers of the event want participants to know that all money earned in the Bowl for Kids’ Sake program stays in Decatur County, helping local children.
Money earned helps fund BBBS’ many varied programs, which have recently incorporated ways in which “Big Brothers” and “Big Sisters” can discuss bullying, internet safety, child abuse, drugs, alcohol and overall safety with children.
“It’s amazing what this has generated,” Karazsia said.
BBBS served 787 Decatur County children in 2012, and those numbers are growing each day, according to those involved with the local non-profit.
“More and more people are realizing the value of what we do ... having someone to talk with and offer support,” Karazsia noted.
The executive director mentioned local schools have also found themselves enamored with BBBS programs, especially North Decatur Elementary School.
There are presently 138 NDES students taking part in BBBS. Greensburg Elementary School, not far behind, presently has 106 students enrolled in programs.
In fact, the numbers are growing at such a rate that the importance of fundraising endeavors like Bowl for Kids’ Sake has increased exponentially.
It’s for this reason Karazsia is hoping to see a packed house at Parkside Lanes the morning of March 3.
“Our agency is a necessity,” she said. “We’re so thankful for the outpouring of people who want to support us.”
Contact: Brent Brown 812-663-3111 x7056.