This year’s Bowl for Kids Sake marked the event’s ten-year anniversary with J.D. Irving, Limited – and an incredible fundraising milestone. J.D. Irving, Limited employees have now raised a total of $1,000,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) over ten years.
“The different activities, the different fundraisers, the level of excitement in the office for the past few months – people were really gung-ho to do a good job this year, and they sure did not disappoint. It was amazing,” said Debbie Fisher, PALS coordinator.
This year’s theme for Bowl for Kids Sake in support of Big Brothers Big Sisters was ‘western,’ and all the teams got in the spirit, letting their creativity shine through their costumes. The teams had used that same creativity while coming up with unique ways to fundraise over the past year.
Heather Tait has been on Mr. J.K. Irving’s team since the event started in 2008. She says that this year the team put in extra effort to come up with unique ideas.
“This year we did an art auction with the kids from the PALS schools, it was absolutely fabulous,” Tait says. “The kids were so cute, and we had pictures of them and they were so proud of their artwork.”
Other fundraisers around the office included a dessert cart, draws on different prizes like Kent Gift Cards and Area 506 tickets, a used purse and jewelry sale, and a raffle with a grand prize of flights anywhere Air Canada flies.
The donations to Big Brothers Big Sisters will help grow and maintain local youth programs. Laurie Collins, Executive Director for Big Brothers Big Sisters Saint John, says that the long-term support from JDI allows BBBS to focus more on their programs, and worry less about garnering funds.
“We’re very fortunate to have this partnership and the support of JDI – it really helps us to help kids build the confidence to achieve more in their lives.” Collins says.
Cindy Millett, a Volunteer Board Member for Big Brothers Big Sisters, says that Bowl for Kids Sake accounts for most of the funds that Big Brothers Big Sisters Saint John receives. As a former Big Sister herself, she understands first-hand the impact that BBBS programs have on youth.
When speaking about her relationship with her BBBS Little Sister, Millett says, “many of life’s experiences that we enjoy, we assume that other people have the same opportunities, and I learned very quickly that that’s not the case. It was nice to just see her eyes open up to other things.”
Between the smiles and laughs that filled the bowling alley over the course of the night, and the funds that the event raised for Saint John youth, this year’s Bowl for Kids Sake proved to be another success.
“If we help the kids, and we’re successful, Saint John will be on the right path for the future,” Mr. J.K. Irving, co-founder of the PALS program in Saint John says, “It’s a long road, but it’s a good road, and we’re enthusiastically behind it.”
PALS (Partners Assisting Local Schools) is an internationally and nationally honoured anti-poverty initiative, founded in 2000 by Mr. J.K. Irving and former School District 8 now Anglophone School District – South. For more information on PALS, please contact Debbie Fisher, Partners Assisting Local Schools (PALS) Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.