WAXAHACHIE — By striking through bottleneck pins, the nation’s largest mentoring networks is raising funds with a friendly bowling competition.

Continuing their work within the Ellis County Division, Big Brothers Big Sisters is hosting its annual "Bowl for Kids’ Sake" fundraising event, taking place at Hilltop Lanes Saturday, April 8.

“Bowl For Kids' Sake is all over the country, and it’s our Big Brother Big Sister annual event, which pretty much sets us off for the whole rest of the year as far as programming costs go,” explained Susan Smith, Requirement Specialist for the Ellis County Big Brothers Big Sister. “Every dollar we raise, 100 percent of it goes to Ellis County, and we’re able to help fund events and social workers to help with the program. So it’s pretty awesome."

A study conducted by The World Bank identified nine promising approaches to helping youth at risk, with BBBS being the quintessential U.S. mentoring program.

“We’ve seen so many awesome results through this mentoring program, helping kids graduate which otherwise wouldn’t. It helps kids get jobs where they couldn’t because of the networking connections. And it helps them to have someone to look up to and be a mentor to them. They can do so much more of what they thought they couldn’t,” Smith described.

Intended to help kids from ages six to 18, the professionally trained BBBS staff members work with hand-picked partners in the education and juvenile justice communities and hopes to guide children who face adversity.

According to its website, BBBS also aids children who need it most, including those coming from a single parent home, growing up in poverty, or coping with parental incarceration.

“Say you have a big brother and little brother and the mom calls and says, ‘The little brother is skipping school or hanging out with bad kids, and I need you to help out and try to tell him what the right thing to do would be,’” Smith said. “So if the big brother doesn’t know how to approach it, he can call our headquarters or his own specific social worker, and they’ll talk him through it and how to handle that. So that way, they’re not alone, and they have support."

From background checks and interview procedures, matching “Bigs” and “Littles” based on location, personalities, and preferences, the raised funding will be able to cover the program’s expenses.

The funds raised from Saturday's event will provide full program resources that grow lasting, impactful friendships between mentor and mentoree.

Though the organization is large in its national size, the Ellis County district is in need of not only funding but also volunteers. Urging the community to get involved, Smith went on to say that the results of their efforts are worth the time investment.

“We have about 25 kids on a waiting list and about two adults, so we need volunteers to help out. It only takes a few hours a month, and for the kids – that’s a big deal. They love it because they have an adult who pays attention to them and they’re there only for them,” Smith acknowledged.

With a focus to help the children of Ellis County, Smith encourages the community to register for the event, create a team, and have a good time fundraising to influence the younger generation.

“We’re a mentoring organization that really wants to help the kids of Ellis County - that’s our main goal,” she finished with a smile.

Bowl For Kids’ Sake will be held at Hilltop Lanes in Waxahachie from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. on Saturday, April 8. To register or donate, visit bbbstx.org/EllisCountyBowl, or call (972)-573-2364.

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Chelsea Groomer, @ChelseaGroomer

(469)-517-1450