For more than 27 years, Big Brother Big Sisters of Eastern Missouri (BBBSEMO) has asked the community to lace up their bowling shoes and participate in the agency’s signature fundraiser, Bowl for Kids’ Sake (BFKS). And for that same period of time the community has responded in record-breaking fashion. Bowl for Kids’ Sake has generated over $5 million in its history, making it the largest and most successful bowling fundraiser in the state of Missouri.
All of the funds raised through BFKS remain in the Eastern Missouri region and are dedicated to help Big Brothers Big Sisters surround children with trusting and enduring relationships.
Big Brothers Big Sisters has always valued those who support the agency through their generous donations. BBBSEMO supports a relationship model known as the 4:1+1SM. This model engages the four most significant adults in a Little’s life—parent, teacher, Big Brother or Big Sister and the agency’s professional program staff. The “+1” is the donor, the one who makes it possible for a relationship to be created and sustained. With Bowl for Kids’ Sake, bowlers get to join Big Brothers Big Sisters as part of that highly valued “+1.”
One of those +1’s who has become a familiar fixture at BFKS is Bob Leimberg, Senior Project Manager at S.M. Wilson & Co. Leimberg first became involved with BFKS in 2006 and his enthusiasm for the annual event is unwavering.
Like many BKFS supporters, Leimberg said that raising the funds is easy.
“I email my friends to ask for their support,” Leimberg said. Those who want to contribute to Leimberg’s cause can use the BFKS on-line fundraising system which is simple and convenient.
Always striving to best his previous year’s fundraising total, the creative bowler looks for new and unique strategies to up his tally. In 2009, Leimberg promised to shave his head if he raised $10,000. The good-natured bowler laughs when he describes seeing his hairless reflection in the mirror—the tradeoff for his friends helping him top the $10,000 mark.
This year there will be two unique opportunities for participation in Bowl for Kids’ Sake. On Saturday, March 10, Big Brothers Big Sisters kicks off a new option for Bowl for Kids’ Sake enthusiasts, Bowl for Kids’ Sake—Celebrity/VIP Edition. Big Brothers Big Sisters has invited local celebrities and VIPS, Very Involved People, to bowl for a BBBS family. These celebrities and VIPS are asked to raise at least $1,000. Members of the public can participate by going online at www.bfks.bbbsemo.org to make a donation to a specific celebrity or VIP.
In addition, Big Brothers Big Sisters has set aside several days in May to host its traditional BFKS event. To participate, there is a minimum fundraising requirement—$85 for adult bowlers, $70 for students in kindergarten through high school and $100 combined for Bigs and Littles. On the day of the event, all that’s left to do is show up and bowl. Participants bowl for free, as the agency’s way of saying “thank you.” And through the generosity of BBBS’ corporate sponsors, participants also receive free pizza, drinks, door prizes, lane rentals, bowling shoes and a cool event T-shirt! For more information on the May event, check out the BFKS website at www.gobowlforkidssake.org.
Motivated by how BBBS makes a difference in the lives of children, Leimberg has a unique view of the agency’s mission and the children he references when making his fundraising pitch. Leimberg became a Big Brother to Little Brother Marcus in April of 2011. “It’s been great! I hope this friendship just goes on and on for a long, long time!”
If you are interested in more information on specific dates and times for BFKS events, how to get a team together, or how to support a celebrity or VIP bowler, contact Jane Smith at 314-361-5900 or sign up online at www.gobowlforkidssake.org.