BENNINGTON – Bennington Lanes rolled back into the ’80s on Saturday along with the 30th annual Bowl for Kids’ Sake fundraiser.
The event, hosted by United Counseling Service (UCS), was to help raise money for the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. The program has been running since 1987 and supports local children by pairing them with adult mentors. It helps kids build self-confidence while helping mentors also grow as individuals.
This year, Bowl for Kids’ Sake had a goal of raising over $35,000. Each bowler was encouraged to raise at least a $50 minimum – each team was allowed up to five bowlers along with a $10 registration fee per person. Betsy Rathbun-Gunn, a Big Brothers Big Sisters coordinator estimated that over 500 people showed up at the bowling alley Saturday. She believes the fundraiser met its goals.
At the 4:30 p.m. wave of bowling, it was announced by local DJ Rich Ryder, that about $5,206 had been raised at that time.
Roughly 18 lanes were open to registered teams made up of local businesses and organizations.
Among the many participants were the Town of Bennington and Hannaford Supermarkets. There were also teams present with names like Split Happens, Technical Difficulties, and the Kaman Krushers.
“This is a wonderful commitment by the community, “Rathbun-Gunn said. “Young and old came together for a true fundraiser.”
Old and new pop hits filled Bennington Lanes as the teams bowled. Some bowlers dressed in 1980s styles, full of neon colors. Every so often, Ryder would visit each team’s lane to challenge them to hit a certain number of pins in their bowling lane. If the person met the challenge, they were given a chance to spin a large wheel for a prize.
Spirit Awards were given to teams that were decked in the most `80s themed styles – a silent auction was also open to bowlers. Teams that raised the most money had the possibility to win a cruise.
Allison Meyer, a new coordinator for Big Brothers Big Sisters, who has worked at United Counseling Service for the past five years, was also excited about the turnout for the event. She was happy to see the support that the community gave the program. Meyer thought that the 80s theme was the “absolute best theme” and promised more themes would be happening at the next annual Bowl for Kids’ Sake.
“It was my first year doing (Big Brothers Big Sisters),” Meyer said. “It’s been an amazing, life changing experience. I can’t wait to get into the community and help better the children – it’s truly amazing what the program does.”
According to United Counseling Service, research has shown that children who receive mentoring are 46 percent less likely to start using illegal drugs, 27 percent less likely to start using alcohol, 52 percent less likely to skip school, and 56 percent more likely to get higher grades in school.