GRAND RAPIDS—Hundreds laced up their bowling shoes and stepped up to the lanes this weekend, all for a good cause. The 24th Annual Bowl for Kids' Sake is underway.
"We raise money to help children to find positive role models, mentors in the community," said Dawn Anderson of Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Greater Grand Rapids.
Big Brothers Big Sisters is began their annual "Bowl for Kids' Sake" event at Eastbrook Lanes. Each team needs to raise at least $75 to get dibs on a lane, including a little bowler with a big heart. "I'm bowling for kids' sake so we can give money to all the other kids who don't have parents and they wanna find someone to help them," said Bennett Emery of Holland.
Bennett has been showing up to the annual fundraiser since he was three. He donated $80 of his own allowance, hoping to give kids the same opportunities he has. "To play soccer baseball and football," said Bennett.
Teaching sportsmanship is just one of the many benefits of pairing kids with mentors, organizers said.
"We make a difference in a child's life, help them with homework, take them out to do a fun activity, experience things that they don't usually get to do, bowling for one," said Anderson. "I took a kid through the car wash --, that was a big deal."
It's also a pretty big expense. Including background checks and proper training for big brothers and big sisters, it costs about a $1,000 a year for one match. There are more than 400 kids on the waiting list in the greater Grand Rapids area, waiting to be matched with a big brother or big sister.
With about 600 participants, the group is hoping to collect more than $50,000 from teams like Kohls Department store. The Kohl's team has been participating for five years. This year it donated a $1,000 grant.
Participants received raffle tickets for cool prizes, free pizza, and a chance for the coveted 'Spirit Award'. None of them are pros, but all played with a passion for transforming the lives of kids, one game at a time.
Big Brothers Big Sisters is still taking team registrations for games on March 12th and March 19th. For more information go to the D.A. Blodgett website.