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Bowl for Kids off to great start in north Wellington

Bowl for Kids - Big Brothers Big Sisters of North Wellington launched its 41st annual Bowl for Kids campaign on Feb. 12 at the Mount Forest Bowling Centre. Front row: Bowl for Kids Coordinator Teri Dykeman with “Littles” Shane and Lily; back row from left, Big Brothers Big Sisters North Wellington executive director Marianne Christie, Perth-Wellington MP John Nater, Wellington North Mayor Andy Lennox, Minto Mayor George Bridge and Major George Garrard, special guest speaker for the event.   Photo by Patrick Raftis

Bowl for Kids off to great start in north Wellington

by Patrick Raftis

MOUNT FOREST - Big Brothers Big Sisters of North Wellington launched its 41st annual Bowl for Kids campaign on Feb. 12, with 188 bowlers from the Minto and Mapleton communities raising nearly $12,000.

“This is a great start towards our goal of $55,000,” said Bowl for Kids coordinator Teri Dykeman.

She noted the organization will host school challenges over the next three weeks and has a Mount Forest community bowl on Feb. 26 and an Arthur/Alma community bowl on March 5.  

“Once again, thank you to all those from Minto-Mapleton who came out to support us,” stated Dykeman in a Feb. 13 press release.

On Sunday at the Mount Forest Bowling Centre, Dykeman thanked Bowl for Kids committee members for their contribution.

“It’s because of their tireless dedication and effort that this event is so successful,” she said.

Marianne Christie, executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters North Wellington, recognized Dykeman’s leadership and thanked committee members and the organization’s board of directors for “a great effort.”

Christie pointed out all funds from the bowling event go directly to the organization’s mentoring programs, which include traditional adult/child matching, in-school mentoring and groups for boys and girls.

“Equally important as the generous donations from the community, we also depend on what our volunteers give us, their precious time.”

Christie added the group is “thankful to have so many wonderful mentors” and noted new volunteers are needed on an ongoing basis. She issued a special request for new Big Brothers in the Minto and Mapleton areas.

“Big Brothers and Big Sisters can make a huge difference for kids in need. The friendships and relations that are formed between a child and a mentor can change a child’s world from hardships, to great potential,” said Christie.

Perth-Wellington MP John Nater, one of several dignitaries who joined in the bowling, noted that while he was unlikely to beat many participants with his score, “the real winners are the kids … because of the programs that are run through Big Brothers and Big Sisters North Wellington.”

Wellington North Mayor Andy Lennox acknowledged the event’s Canada 150th theme in his welcome to participants and organizers.

“On this occasion of Canada’s 150th - go Canada! Let’s have a great event bowling today and for the next three weeks,” said Lennox.

“Thank you to all the volunteers. This event, like so many other things in our community, depends so heavily on our volunteers. We can’t say thank you enough.”

Minto Mayor George Bridge said, “I love coming to this event,” and noted he was formerly a member of the Big Brothers executive in Elmira. “I know the organization well. It’s an amazing organization.”

Major George Garrard, a veteran of more than 30 years with the Canadian Armed Forces, was the guest speaker for the event.

Garrard, who makes his home in Mount Forest, joined the military in 1985 and has served in numerous positions, including as a bomb disposal team leader and instructor and a paratrooper. Ottawa, Northern Ireland and Afghanistan are among the locations he has been stationed during a highly-decorated career, which saw him admitted to the Order of Military Merit in 2014.

“Big Brothers Big Sisters is all about mentoring younger folks who need someone to be a role model for them and that’s a little bit of what we do in the military,” Garrard pointed out.

The need for mentors, Garrard said, continues throughout people’s lives.

“I needed some very serious mentoring from some other folks because I’ve been dealing with PTSD since I came back from Afghanistan … A lot of the help I got came from other people who had this exact same problem ... not all of them were all better, some of them were still struggling with it.”

Garrard said that is not unlike the mentoring Big Brothers Big Sisters provides to young people.

“Sometimes its not always fair … how you get to grow up, so you want some other folks around to help you do that … Big Brothers Big Sisters partners you up with somebody you can trust and they try their best to show you what’s right and what’s wrong … it’s a really tremendous organization.”

For information on participating or volunteering contact Dykeman at 519-323-4273 or email


February 17, 2017


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