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Big Brothers Big Sisters of Kentuckiana embraced the bygone era of hair metal Thursday during a rock-infused Hardin/LaRue kickoff luncheon for the 2013 Bowl for Kids’ Sake fundraiser, which starts March 15.
The luncheon at American Legion Post 113 in Elizabethtown stressed the importance of the fundraiser’s contributions to the Big Brothers Big Sisters’ budget and its ability to make matches locally. The organization serves families in Hardin, LaRue, Taylor, Nelson and Grayson counties.
Jeri Swinton, chief executive officer of BBBS of Kentuckiana, said Bowl for Kids’ Sake is less about bowling and more about families impacted and lives changed by the matches. Likewise, those who volunteer and raise money for the fundraiser can forge lasting relationships.
“You’re not only raising funds,” she said. “You’re raising friends.”
This year’s theme is ‘Rock, Roll, Raise” and the musical theme was fully embraced by Kevin Clark, community engagement branch manager for Big Brothers Big Sisters’ Elizabethtown office, who wore a ragged wig evoking Elvis Presley during the luncheon.
Clark told the crowd money raised locally remains here and is unrestricted so it can meet the needs for local matches as they strive to place “littles” with the best big brothers or big sisters avail-able. It costs around $1,200 to sustain a match per year, he said.
Clark said it is a common misconception that becoming a big brother or big sister takes large vol-umes of a person’s time, but he said it can be attainable to start a relationship with a child if only a few hours are available each month. Instead of looking for activities to shed from their calendar, prospective big brothers or big sisters should consider turning an outing into a bonding moment.
“You don’t even have to give it up,” he said. “Take the little to the basketball game.”
Clark said relationships fostered through matches have produced measurable effects with roughly 90 percent of “littles” reporting positive impacts from being in the program while more than half attributed their big brother or sister as a reason why they chose to stay in high school.
Cheryl Love has been a big sister for nearly two years and cherishes the time with her little sister after her children reached adulthood. She said it is a different experience than raising her own children.
“It’s a lot like being a (grandparent) sometimes,” she said. “You do fun things and then you take them home.”
Cheryl described having a little sister as a “blast” after raising sons because she can take her on shopping trips or they can get their nails done — moments she never experienced before as a mother.
Ryan Bilbrey, military mentoring specialist, highlighted a single mother, Conietha Zapfe, who is raising three children after the death of her husband, William, during a deployment to Iraq a few years ago.
“It has been my greatest reward to serve this family,” Bilbrey said.
Zapfe said all three of her children are enrolled in the program, which proved the right fit for the family.
“I am so thankful for this amazing organization,” she said.
The luncheon was capped off by an impromptu rock concert from an “all star air band” featuring Radcliff Mayor J.J. Duvall and local radio personalities Greg Milby, Bobby Jack Murphy, Hollie Sexton and Cale Tharp dressed in eccentric rock star garb, accessories and wigs. The group per-formed a humorous rendition of Poison’s “Nothin’ but a Good Time.”
Clark encouraged teams who participate in Bowl for Kids’ Sake to dress as their favorite rock star from the past or present or the rock star they always dreamed of being.
Other Bowl for Kids’ Sake dates are March 16, 17, 22 and 23.
Marty Finley can be reached at (270) 505-1762 or email@example.com.