The third-annual Bowl for Kids’ Sake event, organized by Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Luis Obispo County, attracted more than 300 children of all ages — from 3 to 76 — Sunday at Mustang Lanes to celebrate an annual fundraising campaign.
An estimated $13,000 has been donated but final numbers are unknown.
Fifty-four six-member teams signed up for two-hour windows to bowl between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. at Cal Poly’s bowling alley.
Among the noontime crowd was Susan Howe, 76, of Oceano. Her e-mail prefix, “radsenior” reflects her hip, energetic character — something her Little Brother, Frankie M., 10, finds refreshing.
“Frankie helps keep me young,” Howe said between bites of pizza and clearing pins. “Volunteering here gets me involved with a young person. Frankie’s a peach.”
Howe discovered Big Brothers Big Sisters while working in the same building in 2007. Soon after, she met Frankie when he was 7 years old. Howe never had children of her own.
“We do a lot of fun things together and I like (Susan) because she is like my friend. I can do anything with her and its always fun,” said Frankie before he explained to the world that someone rigged his last frame.
Suddenly shouts and cheers erupted near the center of the alley; the announcement of the hour’s first raffle, Holly Mislavsky had won.
One of several raffle winners, Mislavsky attended the event on behalf of Founders Community Bank in San Luis Obispo, an event sponsor, to support her friend David Axberg who works with her and Big Brothers Big Sisters.
“We all support one another,” Mislavsky said. “That’s what this is all about.”
Bowl for Kids’ Sake started three years ago with 17 teams, grew to 27 teams last year and now hit 54. Each team member was asked to raise $75, a minimum of $375 per team.
“The money goes mainly to matches,” said development director Ken Kehs, referring to the process of finding Big Brother, Big Sister pairs like Frankie and Susan. “A lot of it helps afford background screenings, support for volunteers, and ensuring child safety.”
With little government funding, Big Brothers Big Sisters, a nonprofit organization, is supported by its donors and volunteers. All mentors act as volunteers.
“I got to take a picture with Arturo,” said Brody, 9, relishing on his face time with KCOY news anchor, Arturo Santiago.
Mike Hall, resident of Arroyo Grande, is Brody’s Big Brother and sits on the board of directors.
“I knew getting involved would give me an opportunity to meet and interact with a young person,” said Hall.
Having been in a “dark place in the past,” said Hall, he is now able to mentor someone like Brody which is encouraging. “I put my mind to doing something valuable and meeting Brody has been wonderful,” he said.
The two, 40 years apart in age, enjoy sports and outdoor activities, especially hunting and fishing, both which they did recently together. Bowling was right down their alley.
To volunteer, become a mentor or simply support Big Brothers Big Sisters through donations or by attending events, go to slobigs.org or e-mail email@example.com.