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Big plans still ahead for Big Brothers Big Sisters

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Iowa will have a lot going on this summer. They have two big fundraisers within a week of each other and a pool party/awareness event taking place as well.

The first event will be the Aug. 4 Big Brothers Big Sisters Pool Party at Maytag Pool from 5:15 to 7:15 p.m.  The event is free of charge and community-based Bigs may bring their Little along, however the Little’s family must be involved. Little’s who have a school-based Big must have a parent bring them, but Bigs are welcome to join in on the festivities.

BBBSCI Jasper County Director Rita Baker provided more information and some background on the event.

“We have grants from the Iowa Department of Public Heath for (BBBSCI) and part of the grants are for our substance abuse prevention program,” Baker said. “It’s called In the kNOw. The pool party is sponsored by the grant money and there is an element of education.”

In the kNOw teaches Bigs the tools they need to talk to their Littles about making positive choices about alcohol, tobacco, and drug use. Bigs would also be trained to spot substance abuse by a Little and how to properly address the issue.

So, why a pool party to get the word out on such an important subject?

“We’ve tried other things, but we’ve discovered that a full free two hours of swimming at Maytag Pool gets more people there,” Baker said. “Rather than having a meeting in a boring building, we also had one good (meeting) at the bowling alley. But it was rather expensive.”

Baker said that with the school year being up, it is harder to get the word out to all of the Littles, which is why she recently sent a press release to various local media outlets.

“A lot of the kids don’t have the means to go there for even a day, so it’s a good deal,” Baker said.

Something that is new this is the American Legion Riders Fun Run, which is a 150-mile bike ride in which riders take cards to be signed at various stops and that benefits BBBSCI on Aug. 24. It cost $15 for a single rider and $25 for double riders with all proceeds benefitting BBBSCI.

The itinerary is as follows:

• Register from 9 to 10 a.m. at Newton American Legion Post 111.

• Kickstands up at 10 a.m.

• Stop at Rock Creek Beach in Kellogg.

• Stop at Miller Park in Grinnell.

• Stop at City Park in Montezuma.

• Stop at City Park in New Sharon.

• Stop for lunch at the Oskaloosa American Legion.

• Stop at City Park in Bussey.

• Stop at Auld Park in Knoxville.

• Stop at Old Monroe School Park in Monroe.

• Stop at Community Park in Reasnor.

• Final stop and dinner at Maytag Park West Shelter House in Newton with ETA between 3:30 to 5 p.m.

“We have Big Brothers Big Sisters people there to sign their cards at all of those locations,” Baker said. “They are hoping to attract a 100 motorcycle riders. They don’t care what you ride; you don’t have to have a Harley or anything.”

The last big event for the summer is the 4th Annual Big Shots Golf Event “Fore” Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central. It will take place at Westwood Golf Course on Aug. 29 and check-in begins at 11 a.m.  It is $75 to participate as an individual, $150 for a twosome, and $300 for a foursome.

“It’s a great fun outing,” Baker said. “This and Bowl for Kids Sake are our two big fundraisers.”

Baker stresses the importance of fundraising and keeping the program alive in Jasper County.

“(I hope) that we can make money to keep the program going,” Baker said. “We don’t charge for any of the programs or services. We are totally dependent on money that we raise and that people donate. It takes a lot of money to have offices and staff and technological equipment, but it’s really worth it.

“There isn’t a child alive that wouldn’t benefit from having an additional mentor or person in their life that cares about them and wants good things for them,” Baker said.

For more information on becoming a Big or any of the events, you may contact the BBBSCI Jasper County office at (641)-792-4077.

• • •

Staff writer Ty Rushing may be contacted at (641)-792-3121, ext. 426, or at via email.

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