CHAMPAIGN — Dozens of local kids are waiting for an adult role model in their lives, and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Champaign County has asked area bowlers to come out this weekend to help make that happen.
The agency is holding its 13th annual Bowl for Kids' Sake at Western Bowl, 917 Francis Drive, C, on Friday and Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoon.
There's still time to reserve a lane or make a donation. This is the agency's biggest fundraiser of the year, says Eric Batsie, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Champaign County's community partnership manager.
Big Brothers Big Sisters matches adult volunteers and children in need of positive role models in their communities, and the Champaign County serves about 140 children — but there about 65 to 75 more waiting for a match, Batsie said.
Generally, parents, teachers and guardians like how it works for one child and seek out a match for another sibling or child in a classroom, he said.
"We don't ever turn children away, but we are very honest with the teachers and with the parent how long it will take to find them a match," he said. "Our challenge is always male mentors."
That's because Big Brothers Big Sisters deals with a lot of single-parent families, and it's often the father that is missing, he said.
Making matches costs money, because there are extensive background checks, interviews and group orientations involved and support services involved for the one-year commitment all adult volunteers are asked to make.
"First and foremost is always child safety," Batsie said. "We're in touch monthly, every month for 12 months."
Funds raised at Bowl for Kids' Sake will allow the agency to screen and enroll more mentors and provide the professional services needed.
Nationally, Bowl for Kids' Sake raises $20 million each year. It has raised more than $300,000 in Champaign County over the past 13 years, the agency says. All proceeds raised locally stay in the area, Batsie said.
This year, Bowl for Kids' Sake will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and noon to 2 p.m. Sunday. Pizza will be provided, and University of Illinois athletes will be on hand Sunday to bowl with kids, he said.
For more information and a link to the sign-up, see http://bit.ly/z4EkpD , or reserve a lane by calling Eric Batsie at 355-2227.