Big Brothers, Big Sisters get treated

Friday, February 27, 2009
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Bourbon County participants were treated to an afternoon showing of The Pink Panther 2 at Fort Cinema on Saturday. The movie event was made possible through a grant from the Community Foundation of Southeast Kansas. (Tribune photo/Rayma Silvers)

A group of youth who participate in the local Big Brothers Big Sisters organization were treated to a special showing of The Pink Panther 2 on Saturday at Fort Cinema.

According to BBBS of Bourbon County case manager Trisha Kealoha, about 30 youth and their local mentors attended the movie event, which was funded through a Community Foundation of Southeast Kansas grant.

In the school-based BBBS program, high school students are matched to elementary and middle school students. In this program, the "Bigs" are not allowed to meet with their "Littles" off of school property unless local BBBS personnel are present. The movie event gives the school-based matches an opportunity to meet outside of school. In a previous interview, Kealoha said since the majority of the agency's "Bigs" are high school students who spend time with their "Littles" on their lunch hours a couple of times per week, the trip to the movie theater gives these school-based matches a chance to spend time together outside of the school setting.

Currently, between the school-based matches and the community based matches, the local program has paired 49 "Bigs" and "Littles," which is an all time high, according to Kealoha. Although BBBS has matched nearly 50 "Bigs" and "Littles", Kealoha said there is still a need for community based big brothers.

According to Bourbon County BBBS Board Chair Reed Hartford, the local organization usually conducts a fundraiser each year to raise money for BBBS events. In the past, BBBS of Bourbon County conducted a bowling event to raise funds. However, this year the organization will conduct a different type of fundraising event.

"Traditionally Bowling For Kid's Sake has been the main annual fundraiser for BBB agencies," Hartford said. "Our last BFKS in Bourbon County was in the Spring of 07, just as the bowling alley was closing. We are planning a 5K Fun Run, on Saturday, April 25, that we hope will be an opportunity for the community to come together for a great time, while also supporting the important work BBBS does with at-risk children and youth in our communities."

According to printed information from BBBS, the organization strives to help children develop relationships with kind-hearted adults in order to positively impact their futures.

For more information about the local BBBS or to volunteer to become a mentor for area youth, contact Hartford at (620)223-3944.