Big Brothers Big Sisters program aims to raise money with bowling event

Kevin Wilson

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southeastern New Mexico is a relatively small operation, with a staff that consists of executive director Meg Sadau, and a minimal office in the Matt 25 Hope Center where she has spent a year.

The operation is hoping it can bowl over a few sponsors, however, so it can serve more youth.

Big Brothers Big Sisters is making its first attempt at replicating the national Bowl For Kids Sake fundraiser, set for May 14.

Big Brothers Big Sisters pairs area youths with adult volunteers. According to the national website, the group has roots starting in 1904, when Ernest Coulter, a court clerk in New York City, felt a mentoring program could help stem the flow of boys coming through the court. A similar group was created for girls called Ladies of Charity. The two groups merged in 1977 to become Big Brothers Big Sisters, with chapters across the country.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southeastern New Mexico serves four counties — Curry, Roosevelt, Quay and De Baca. An effort is currently concentrated in Curry and Roosevelt, Sadau said, because that’s where more than 90 percent of their matches reside.

There are about 60 matches in Curry County, Sadau said, and 30 in Roosevelt County. Another 15 matches could be made, she said, with more male volunteers.

Once pairs are matched, they spend about four to five hours a month together, with a wide list of activities possible.

“They can really do anything the parents will allow,” Sadau said, “except for overnight visits.”

Big brothers and sisters control what they spend on activities, and they’re advised to not spend extravagantly.

But the organization spends about $1,200 annually for every match between an adult and a child. Most of those expenses are in background checks and group functions.

The bowling event is the only scheduled fundraiser for the year. Teams are signed up, and each team member must raise $100 or more to play. During the event, they receive two free games and are eligible for donated prizes.

If enough money is raised, more staff may be added, Sadau said. But she envisions that type of funding is at least a year down the road.