This year's Bowl for Kids Sake in support of Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) of the Pembina Valley raised $27,000, including in-kind donations.

For over 35 years, the event has been the organization's biggest fundraiser, with all money raised going directly into their programming.    

All Big Brothers Big Sisters services are free, and Executive Director Jenelle Neufeld says events like Bowl for Kids Sake allow them to keep those services free.

"It's all about the mentoring effect and what that does for the children and youth of the Pembina Valley. It's the consistency," said Neufeld. "It's someone showing up for them and making them a priority."

Neufeld added mentored youth are less likely to have mental health issues, more likely to graduate, and more likely to have a healthier lifestyle. "So there's so many benefits to mentoring. It's just a whole-hearted approach, and it's a great organization and I'm so thankful for all the support." 

BBBS Executive Director Jenelle Neufeld and Mentoring Coordinator Danielle CrossmanBBBS Executive Director Jenelle Neufeld and Mentoring Coordinator Danielle Crossman

Neufeld says the need for male mentors continues to be huge. She says the organization has a long waiting list. The majority of the kids currently waiting are male. 

"So if any males have a couple of hours, even a month to spare and come volunteer with us, that would be fantastic. You make a huge difference, even if you think you don't have enough time. You do. I promise. Just reach out to us. We can discuss it, share the expectations, and see if it would be a good fit."

Neufeld says children are on the waiting list because someone in their life feels they could benefit from BBBS services. She explained they accept referrals from schools, parents, CFS, or just somebody in their life who thinks they would benefit from having a mentor.

"Mentored youth, just because you think that it might not be a kid that would need a mentor, everyone needs a mentor. If you think of yourself, everyone has somebody that they look up to. We are just providing that service and that person they can look up to, and depend on, and count on in their life."

Neufeld shared a huge thanks to all the lane sponsors and prize sponsors. She also mentioned a special thank you to this year's event sponsor, Access Credit Union.

A survey is also being put together to gauge how people would like to see the event scheduled going forward. Neufeld says the survey will be available on their website soon.

~ With files from Robyn Wiebe and Gloria Hoeppner ~