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Locals bowl, raise funds for Big Brothers Big Sisters in spare time

March 5, 2018 GMT

DeKALB – Elizabeth Mills, a senior student athlete at Cornerstone Christian Academy in Sycamore, doesn’t go bowling very often – at best, she said, she occasionally goes with some friends.

But Mills said she absolutely could justify bowling with a few teammates that her school’s athletic director, Amy Oster, rounded up for the Bowl for Kids’ Sake event Saturday at Mardi Gras Lanes, 1730 Sycamore Road, if it means it could help the community.

“Any chance I get [to help], I’ll take that chance,” Mills said.

The money raised by the nationwide event, which the Family Service Agency of DeKalb County has taken part in for a few decades, makes up for half the budget for the Big Brothers Big Sisters program on a local level, FSA’s executive director, Tynisha Clegg, said.

Clegg said the goal for this year’s multiday bowling event is to raise $50,000, and all proceeds directly benefit the Big Brothers Big Sisters program in the county. She said it costs more than $100,000 a year to run the local program.

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Big Brothers Big Sisters is a national program that provides free mentoring to children in need of a positive role model in their life by having them meet one-on-one with adult volunteers for at least eight hours a month. Those who want to have an effect on a child’s life but aren’t willing or able to carve out eight hours a month, also can be lunch buddies, meaning they have lunch with their little at school twice a month.

Clegg said the agency makes the event fun and competitive for the community by adding a “Battle of the Banks” competition Thursday and having teams from area police and fire departments participate Friday.

“It’s a great afternoon, not just to raise funds for kids, but to get people out here,” Clegg said.

Currently, Clegg said, there are 20 kids waiting to be paired, but the agency’s goal is to be able to have an adult volunteer waiting list instead.

“The more money we raise, the more matches we can make in the community,” Clegg said.

She has said on average a child waits at least three months to be paired with a big, and that in the meantime, the agency provides quarterly activities, as well as various support for the families.

Keith Keutzer, of Rochelle, came to the event as a spectator but also coaches bowling at Plainfield Central High School. He said you don’t have to be good at bowling to take part in this kind of event that can benefit kids in the community.

“If [participants] don’t do this, then the Family Services Agency can’t do what they do,” Keutzer said.

Bowlers have other chances to participate in the fundraiser at 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. Friday at Mardi Gras Lanes in DeKalb and at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Idle Hour Lanes in Sandwich.

To sign up for a time slot, or for information about Big Brother Big Sisters or other FSA programs, call 815-758-8616, or visit fsadekalbcounty.org.