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Big Brothers Big Sisters benefits from generosity of community

From left, Big Brother Allen Burdett, his Little Brother Matias (with sign), Little Brother Isaias, Little Sister Belen, Big Brother Bob Hutchison and his Little Brother Aaron comprised the Bowl for Kids’ Sake team of Bigs and Littles sponsored by Raymond James & Associates Inc. of Landrum. (photo by Susan Newlin)

The year started out with a bang for Big Brothers Big Sisters with a grant from the Unrestricted Fund of the Polk County Community Foundation, an organization dedicated to the improvement of the community.
In addition, two donors with the Polk County Community Foundation have established an enrichment fund at Big Brothers Big Sisters that provides opportunities for children in the BBBS community-based program. These funds are for summer camps, swim lessons, music lessons, cultural experiences, visits to college campuses and other beneficial activities. Volunteer Bigs are even allowed some reimbursements from this fund for enrichment-oriented outings with their Little Brother or Little Sister.
A contribution from the Foundation’s Arthur M. and Frances H. Wilhelm Fund supports group activities for Bigs and Littles. The local Big Brothers Big Sisters organization holds several group outings each year, including a Christmas party, a pool party and picnic, and last year, Bigs and Littles enjoyed a kayaking experience on the Green River, through Green River Adventures in Saluda. Participants said they gained a sense of accomplishment by navigating the river.
Special friends of Big Brothers Big Sisters have also set up an endowment fund at the Polk County Community Foundation for BBBS, through which contributions are encouraged to help build financial security for the organization’s future.
Fundraising is a nearly constant challenge, on the agenda year-round. Big Brothers Big Sisters has already held two fundraisers this year, introducing the successful “Have a Heart” for BBBS hosted by the Upstairs Artspace, and the organization’s annual signature event, “Bowl For Kids’ Sake,” which is supported by business sponsors, clubs and individuals. An annual mail campaign will commence in a few months, typically bolstered by a considerable response from local supporters. By early fall it will be time again to begin plans for the next bowling event.
The mission of Big Brothers Big Sisters is to provide children facing adversity with strong enduring relationships that will change their lives for the better. Matches are professionally supported by trained staff while parents or guardians are involved as essential partners. Youth paired with a volunteer Big are aided in attaining greater confidence, improved school performance and better relationships. According to organizers, Littles are less likely to engage in risky behaviors and more likely to have higher aspirations. They said these matches positively impact not only the child, volunteer and family but area schools and communities as well.
“Nonprofit organizations often spend an inordinate amount of time and energy on fundraising, which may detract from the ability to serve their targeted population,” Karen Dacey of BBBS said. “Having the support of the Polk County Community Foundation in this community is such a blessing, and celebration of good news from them is tempered with a sigh of grateful relief rippling out from all those who benefit. Area citizens who donate to the foundation can truly see the value of their gifts at work.”
– article submitted by Karen Dacey