Big brothers, sisters to bowl for kids

By Pat Deringer

Brandon Thomas will assure anyone that brothers are not always biologically related.

As the UK chapter president of Big Brothers/Big Sisters of the Bluegrass, Thomas has created a brotherly relationship for the past two years with his “little,” Kristian Lowe.

Lowe, 14, said he enjoys playing video games, laser tag, baseball, card games and pool with his big brother Thomas, a psychology and biology senior.

In an effort to raise money for Big Brothers/Big Sisters of the Bluegrass, the 51st annual Bowling for Kids’ Sake, sponsored by the organization, will be held from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m., today at Southland Bowling Lanes.

UK students can form teams of four to five people to bowl in the tournament by making a donation to the organization. Thomas said he hopes to crush last year’s fundraising record of nearly $5,000.

“This event allows students to get involved for a good cause and have fun at the same time,” Thomas said. “It is a great way to ask questions about the program and fill out an application if people are interested. Participating enables the chapter to raise money and improve on what is already a great chapter.”

To register a team, students may fill out a donation packet located in the Student Government office in the Student Center or at Southland Bowling Lanes. Team members will receive free T-shirts, pizza and soft drinks at the event.

“Our top priority is providing kids with more opportunities to integrate with people they can look up to,” Thomas said. “We encourage anyone who is up for a good time to attend the event.”

A non-profit agency dedicated to improving the lives of children from single-parent families, Big Brothers/Big Sisters of the Bluegrass has been serving 14 counties and 28 schools in Central Kentucky for 50 years.

The organization has been on campus for four years and has 800 members. It offers three programs for student volunteers: school program, community program and escapades program.

“Raising awareness and getting new people involved on campus has always been our number one goal,” said chapter vice president Brian Drapp, a finance senior.

In Big Brothers/Big Sisters’ core effort, the community program, volunteers visit children at their homes.

The escapades program was created because some children are on a waitlist for a big brother or big sister for up to two years, Thomas said.  In this program, children meet with a group of volunteers once a month for a couple of hours.

Though Thomas is busy with school and the organization, he said the school program allows him to manage his time with Lowe. This particular effort is popular among UK students, he said, because volunteers visit children at school for one hour a week.

The organization holds recruitment meetings for students who want to learn more about being involved in Big Brothers/Big Sisters. The last meeting of the semester is Feb. 27, at 6 p.m. in room 106 of the Student Center.