Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ellis County celebrated one of its biggest and longest-running fundraisers Wednesday night with the 20th anniversary of Bowl for Kids' Sake.
Jenny Bates, executive director of Ellis County BBBS, said 24 teams had signed up to bowl in two sessions this year.
The Ellis County chapter had raised almost $27,000 as of Wednesday, according to the Kansas Big Brothers Big Sisters For Kids' Sake website. The event usually brings in about $20,000, Bates said.
“We’ve been staying about the same every year, which is great. This year we do have a few more teams involved than we did last year. A lot of businesses come together and do this and different organizations as well,” she said.
The event’s proceeds go a long way in the organization’s mission to pair children age 5 to 17 with adult mentors. The Ellis County chapter has two programs: a community-based program and Bigs in Schools.
“It helps with the screening of the volunteers, the process that we complete with the children and the families or guardians,” Bates said.
It also helps provide the pay for the full-time staff of Bates and three match support specialists and their training, she said.
Prizes were available for participants, including a chance at a trip to Cabo San Lucas for individuals who raised at least $200.
Among the bowlers Wednesday night were Devann Patten and Jill McDowell, of First Care Clinic, 105 W. 13th. For both, it was the second time bowling on the clinic team.
“We really enjoyed it last year so we wanted to come back and help support the kids,” McDowell said.
“We all try to be a part of different things in the town,” McDowell said of the clinic's staff. “We try to give back to the community as much as we can.”
Patten said her family is the biggest part of her fundraising efforts for the event.
“I just explain what I’m doing. I try to explain what Big Brothers Big Sisters is,” she said. Patten was a “big” during her senior year of high school in Ellinwood.
Volunteers to act as “bigs” for area children are always needed, Bates said. About 40 children are on the waiting list to be matched with a mentor.
Anyone interested in volunteering can contact Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ellis County at 785-625-6672 or at the Chestnut Street Building office, 1200 Main, Suite 102.