Dust off your Halloween costume to benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters

It will be Halloween in March at Lincoln Lanes in Merrill as Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northcentral Wisconsin presents Bowl For Kids’ Sake “Big Scare” on Saturday, March 9. Get another use out of your Halloween costume and strike one up for the kids in Merrill.
“Who wouldn’t want to get dressed up in their Halloween costume in the middle of March?” said Merrill Bowl for Kids’ Sake committee member Amy Heimerl.
This third annual event is not only fun, but raises funds needed to support the Community Based Mentoring and School Based Mentoring programs of Big Brothers Big Sisters in Merrill. There are 45 kids already matched, yet there are 41 waiting to be matched with a caring adult mentor.
The average match cost per year is $650, which ensures child safety through thorough background and reference checks, as well as ongoing professional match support for the Big, Little, and Little’s family. The Big Brothers Big Sisters program has one staff person in Merrill, with an office at Merrill High School.
Lanes are still open for bowling teams to join the fun. Bowling will take place in four shifts, with a kids bowl from 1-3 p.m. and three more shifts from 5-7 p.m., 7-9 p.m. and 9-11 p.m. with teams consisting of 4-6 people. The BFKS committee is hoping for over 250 bowlers this year.
“We filled three shifts the last couple of years,” Heimerl said. “Our goal is to fill an additional shift this year.”
Bowlers are asked to raise money through pledges prior to bowling. Children of middle school age or younger are required to raise at least $25, while older bowlers need to raise $50. At the event, bowlers get free pizza, soda and the chance to win prizes.
Many valuable raffle prizes have been donated by area businesses. The grand prize is a weekend stay for up to 28 people at NoWorries Lodge, a luxurious vacation estate on the Menominee River near Menominee, MI. Tickets to win this Grand Prize are $10 each or $20 for 3. They are available at the BBBS office in the high school or the day of the event.
Bowlers are encouraged to register early to ensure they get a lane. Registration and pledge forms are available online at bbbsncw.org.
“It’s easy to do,” Heimerl said. “You just need to get 3-5 other people together, grab your costume and get ready to have some fun.”
And there’s no need to be a good bowler.
“It’s really not about the bowling,” she said. “It’s just an opportunity to come together with your friends for a great cause.”
Bowl for Kids’ Sake has become the main annual fundraiser for Big Brothers Big Sisters in Merrill. Last year the event raised nearly $20,000 – double what was raised the first year – and organizers are hoping to top that this year.
There are incentives for participants to raise big money in pledges, with a top prize of an iPad Mini for anyone who can reach $1,000 in pledges.
Big Brother Big Sisters has been school based in Merrill since approximately 2003, but the community based program has been around since at least the mid-1990s. The office in Merrill was established about three years ago.
The organization is always looking for “Bigs” to serve as mentors to their “Littles.”
“The benefits that the volunteers get are priceless,” Heimerl said. “It’s a lifelong connection. The assumption is that the “Littles” are the biggest beneficiary of the program, but the truth is, it goes both ways.”
The minimum age to be a “Big” is 14. Heimerl, a teacher at Merrill High School, noted that about 15 high school students serve as “Bigs” in the program.
Studies have shown that children involved as “Littles” and “Bigs” in the program have increased school performance and self esteem, while decreased risk for skipping school and using alcohol or illegal drugs.
If you are interested in becoming a “Big” or wondering how you can get involved in this great event, contact Kristy Schulz at 715-536-4594 X18038 or at [email protected].

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