Knock 'em Down with Fundraising

By Jill Kasparie, Reporter

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cedar Rapids is hoping to bowl everyone over with how much money they raise.

The organization is pushing people to sign up for Bowl for Kids' Sake 2013, and start raising money for the organization. The event is still weeks away, but this is a big week for the group.

"This is our promotional week for our Bowl for our Kids' Sake event," Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cedar Rapids' Kathy Beardsworth said. "It's the time when we get companies engaged and the community members that want to participate can sign up to bowl with us in February."

It's the organizations biggest fundraiser and provides 37 percent of its local operating budget. All of the money goes back into the program for matching kids with mentors in the community.

"2012 was a huge year for our agency. We served 752 children, and that was a significant increase from the year before. Even with that today, we have 111 children with their applications turned in to us, wanting to be a part of our program," Big Brothers Big Sisters CEO Linda Heneke said.

Kids grow and change a lot through their time with Big Brothers Big Sisters.

"I've been more mature, and I've got to know a lot of people," said one of the program's participants, Xavier. "I'm not shy. I express myself more."

Damon Hines and his little brother Xavier were matched up two and a half years ago. The two hang out about once a week. They typically watch sports or Damon will attend some of Xavier's sporting matches at school.

The 13-year-old said, thanks to the program, he's become more mature and opened up. He also enjoys having a friend like Damon. The two recently had quite the bet going on.

"We had a deal, a bet, so to speak, that if Xavier could get his GPA above a 3.2, that he could shave my head and lucky for him he got a 3.53," Hines said.

"I had a basketball game that day, so we went to his house, and I just started to shave," Xavier said. "The hair just kept flying off, and Damon's never been bald before and it was an achievement for me."

Xavier said he was determined to keep his grades up, even though Damon's hair is already growing back.

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