Bowling event helps kids in Pembina Valley

Morden and District United Way president Alex Fedorchuk, BBBS executive director Michael Penner and Winkler mayor Martin Harder were excited to announce the 2019 Bowl for Kids campaign. (LAUREN MACGILL, Morden Times)

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Big Brothers Big Sisters is setting a big goal for their upcoming Bowl For Kids fundraiser.

This year, BBBS is hoping to raise $35,000, a goal they have been using for their past few Bowl for Kids events.

“We’ve come close the last two or three years, so we’re hoping this year is the year to reach it,” Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Pembina Valley executive director Michael Penner said.

Last year, 175 participants raised $32,000 for the organization. The event has room for about 48 teams, and Penner said they typically hit around 40.

“We are at 28 teams, so we’re well on our way,” Penner said. “I’m excited about that number, I’m hoping to see it grow of course.”

The event takes place March 16 at Valley Bowling Lanes in Winkler.

Penner said many teams are returning bowlers. “We seem to have our regulars that come every year, which is really nice to see, to have that consistent support. It makes it a lot easier to fill the lanes.”

Bowl for Kids is BBBS’ biggest fundraiser of the year. The Pembina Valley chapter will be one of 110 BBBS agencies across the country that will host a Bowl for Kids event.

The theme for 2019’s event is Believe in their Potential, a storybook theme. Participants who come dressed as their favourite storybook character have a chance to win a prize.

“It’s a fun event with a good cause,” Penner said. “You just come out and you bowl and you have fun with it, you bring along some friends. It’s not a serious thing, although it could be if you wanted it to be.

“All the money that we raise goes directly to help kids,” he added. “You’re helping the vulnerable of our communities to hopefully gain confidence in themselves and to reach their full potential. What better way, have fun for a good cause.”

The Pembina Valley chapter of BBBS currently serves 90 children and youth through their programming.

“This is an opportunity for people to be a role model in young people’s lives,” Winkler mayor Martin Harder said. “It’s a tremendous asset to the future growth of our community because you now have kids who are engaged and they have a role model and they’re feeling that they’re valued. To me it’s very important to participate and support.”

“Any organization needs a leader, and when you take a look at leadership in place here with Michael having been at the helm for so long and developed this organization to the point where it became regional,” he added. “Hats off to Michael and his team for working together and making it happen.”

BBBS helps kids all around the region, including in Morden.

“I think of all the young people that need a mentor, they need a leg up, some help in their life,” Morden and District United Way president Alex Fedorchuk said. “They fill a wonderful need. Not every kid has the benefit of having sometimes even one parent, so I feel for those folks.”

There will be plenty of prizes to win at the fundraiser and the silent auction is open to the public on that day as well.

To find more information or to register a team, call BBBS at 204-325-9707 or visit the website https://pembinavalley.bigbrothersbigsisters.ca.

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