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By MARTY FINLEY
ELIZABETHTOWN— Hula hoops, impromptu dancing, unorthodox bowling maneuvers and a visit from Batman doesn’t define a typical Saturday at Dix-E-Town Lanes in Elizabethtown.
Then again, Saturday was not a typical day as Bowl For Kids’ Sake kicked off its inaugural weekend for 2009. The event is a national fundraiser that benefits Big Brothers Big Sisters.
Bob Belknap, branch director of Big Brothers Big Sisters Kentuckiana, was all smiles as he moved effortlessly from lane to lane, getting teams situated and handing out hula hoops for a dose of competition.
Belknap said the first day reaped sizable dividends early, with the organization capturing more than $8,000 in its first two sessions. Split into intervals, teams alternated every two hours. Big Brothers Big Sisters asks each team member to raise a pledge of $60 as part of the event, with prizes awarded according to the size of the pledge totals. A traveling trophy also is up for grabs.
Belknap said the pizza, food and prizes all were donated, meaning the event doesn’t accrue expenses that eat into the fundraising dollars. About 92 percent of the money raised is infused directly into the community on behalf of children, he said.
The event bolsters 348 teams this year, Belknap said, with 47 teams representing Hardin County Schools.
HCS Superintendent Nannette Johnston was on hand for the kickoff, and was impressed with the representation from her school district. She said the time spent by students is a way of giving back, as the efforts of Big Brothers Big Sisters directly benefits schools.
“Plus, I just like to be around the kids,” she said of her visit. “They have a good time and so do I.”
Jo Million, a family consumer science teacher at John Hardin High School, was on hand representing the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America, where she serves as adviser.
Million said it was the second year the group has participated, and syncs perfectly with their goal of community service and putting families first.
She said it also exposed students to more social events in the county.
“It shows students that there are fun things to do in the community,” she said.
Commonwealth Attorney Chris Shaw has participated in the event with his office for years, and said he is very supportive of the measures taken by Big Brothers Big Sisters, particularly because he sees each day what happens when people go astray and make poor life choices.
Shaw said the programs reaches kids early in hopes of helping them avoid similar mistakes.
“We see the benefit of it,” he said.
The Young Professionals of Hardin County boasted large numbers, counting a dancing Batman amongst its ranks.
Emily West, a member of the group, said the event gave friends the opportunity to unwind and serve a good cause together .
“We’re out here doing something for a great cause, and having a great time. What more could you ask for?”
Belknap said the organization’s goal is to raise $100,000 this year, on par with amounts raised during the past few years’ events. The event continues through March.
Marty Finley can be reached at (270) 505-1762.