Archive for Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Big Brothers/Big Sisters plans bowling fund-raiser

March 15, 2006

Mona Kerns hopes area residents bowl up a storm for Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Leavenworth County.

Kerns, who is vice president of the Leavenworth County chapter, said Thursday that local residents are encouraged to form a team for the county's Bowl For Kids' Sake fund-raiser. The event, which is part of a nationwide fund-raiser for the non-profit Big Brothers/Big Sisters organization, will be April 1 and 2 at the Skyway Lanes Bowling Center.

Cosmic bowling will be available at 9:30 p.m. and 11 p.m. April 1 and 2 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. April 2 at the bowling alley, 5037 S. Fourth in Leavenworth.

The event will be the first fund-raiser for the Leavenworth County chapter, which was established last May.

"We're just kind of getting off the ground," Kerns said.

What: Bowl For Kids' Sake fund-raiser

When: April 1 and 2

Where: Skyways Lanes Bowling Center, 5037 S. Fourth in Leavenworth.

Why: To benefit the Leavenworth County Big Brother/Big Sister office, which opened last May.

How: Residents can form teams to bowl at the event. Teams must collect pledges for the event to bowl. For more information, or to register a team, contact Debra Kendall at (913) 651-2600 or Mona Kerns at (816) 377-2737.

In Leavenworth County, 13 "Littles," or children, have been matched with adults, or "Bigs," Kerns said. And more than 60 children are on waiting lists to be matched with adults, Kerns said.

Usually, it takes five to six weeks before it's decided whether an adult qualifies for the mentoring program. During the qualification process, Kerns said, officials interview the applicant and do background checks.

"It's really cool to see how it works," she said.

Familiar organization

Kerns herself is a Big Sis through Douglas County. Her original little sister lived in Lawrence, but the girl moved away unexpectedly. Kerns, who lives in Tonganoxie, now is a mentor to another girl.

"I'd always wanted to do that," Kern said about becoming a Big Sister. "Since my kids went away to college, I have more time."

The longer Kerns was a Big Sister, the more involved she became with the Douglas County office.

"It kind of blossomed from there," Kerns said.

When Leavenworth County established an office, Kerns was asked to assist in Leavenworth. The Leavenworth County office has one staff member who works part time -- Debra Kendall.

Her office is at 509 Shawnee in Leavenworth.

Big Brothers/Big Sisters isn't limited to adults being paired with children.

The Bigs in Schools program pares high school students with children. The interaction takes place at the elementary schools -- during lunch, recess or after school. High school students are asked to spend a half-hour to an hour with a child each week.

Kerns said 10 Tonganoxie High School students have been approved and are waiting for matches at Tonganoxie Elementary.

Although Kerns said there weren't any mentors at Basehor-Linwood High School, she said Leavenworth and Fort Leavenworth were involved in the Bigs in Schools program. At Fort Leavenworth, some children -- whose fathers are in Iraq -- "need a little extra mentoring right now," Kerns said.

Big Brothers/Big Sisters also offers mentoring for children of a parent or parents who are in jail.

Pins and frames

To enter a team in Bowl for Kids' Sake and reserve a bowling time, team captains should call the Leavenworth County office at (913) 651-2600 or Kerns at (816) 377-2737.

Teams consist of a captain and four teammates. Each team member is required to raise $100 in pledges to bowl. Participants are not obligated to collect pledge money. Big Brothers/Big Sisters mails thank-you cards to people who pledge and can collect donations at that time.

"Skyway Lanes is donating everything," Kerns said. "And canceling all league bowling for those two days so we can use the bowling alley, which is a huge contribution."

The best aspect of the bowling event, Kerns said, is that all money raised will go to the local office, which has been open for just 10 months.

"The neat part of having this in Leavenworth County is that all the money that is raised at this bowl stays in Leavenworth County," Kerns said. "It doesn't go anywhere else."

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