In The News: Event looks to bowl over $20,000 goal for Big Brothers Big Sisters



Event looks to bowl over $20,000 goal for Big Brothers Big Sisters

Orillia Matters – – Wednesday, May 3rd, 2023 – By: Tyler Evans Video Producer & Reporter, Orillia Matters

Big Sister, Lauren Oke, right, and her Little Sister Mia, spent Tuesday night having fun at the Bowl for Kids’ Sake event | Tyler Evans/OrilliaMatters

Big Sister Laura Dickson, right, and her Little Brother James, left, have been matched for nearly six years. On Tuesday, they wore their pajamas to the Bowl for Kids’ Sake event. | Tyler Evans/OrilliaMatters


‘I saw the difference, changes, and good it can do for kids. I wanted to help some child the same way BBBS helped my child,’ said long-time supporter of Big Brothers Big Sisters

This week’s Bowl for Kids’ Sake fundraiser is on pace to surpass its $20,000 fundraising goal.

The lanes at Orillia Bowl were filled on Tuesday night with local firefighters, paramedics, and OPP officers alongside other members of the community who were bowling with local youth who are waiting to be matched with a mentor.

The event aims to raise funds and support for Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) Orillia & District.

BBBS mentoring coordinator, Lauren Oke, says the Bowl for Kids’ Sake event is the not-for-profit organization’s marquee event when it comes to raising awareness.

“We are always looking for mentors and volunteers,” she said. “We are hoping that through this event people will learn more about what we do and feel the impact that our organization makes,” said Oke.

Before the first ball made its way down the lane on Tuesday night, the event had raised $17,000. Bowl for Kids’ Sake will continue today in Orillia and Friday in Coldwater.

“It would mean everything to us to hit our fundraising goal,” Oke said. “It’s been rough coming out of the pandemic, we are facing inflation, and we are still working on getting all of our services back to being in person.”

For the last year and a half, Oke has been a Big Sister to 11-year-old Mia.

“I really enjoy doing arts and crafts, jumping on the trampoline, and shopping with Lauren,” Mia explained. “It’s nice to have a mentor and someone to talk with.”

Mia says having Oke as a mentor is a positive thing for her mental health.

“We talk about school and things that are going on at home,” she said. “It’s nice to get out of the house and have some time away from my little brother, as much as I love him.”

While the program is designed to benefit youth, Oke says it’s just as beneficial for her.

“It brings me back to being a kid,” she said. “I love seeing the opportunities that Mia gets out of our outings together.”

Laura Dickson, who has been involved with the program for 18 years, started supporting the cause after her daughter benefited from the mentoring program.

“I saw the difference, changes, and good it can do for kids,” she explained. “I wanted to help some child the same way BBBS helped my child.”

Dickson says her daughter, Cheyanne, became a happier person with the support of her mentor.

“She always looked forward to her outings with her Big Sister and she was excited when she got back to tell me what was going on,” Dickson explained.

Dickson hopes that her mentorship of James, 13, is as positive for him as it was for her own daughter.

“I enjoy that we get to spend time together and have fun,” James said. “She has taught me quite a few things. It’s like having both a friend and a parent.”

Dickson says there are currently around 30 kids in Orillia waiting for a Big Brother or Big Sister to step up and be their mentor.

“It goes beyond what it can do for the kids,” she said. “It can do good for you, it can do good for the community, and you will see the rewards right away.”

To donate to Bowl for Kid’s Sake, or for more information about volunteering, click here.

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