FOND DU LAC (NBC 26) — Fond du Lac is hitting the bowling lanes for the annual event “Bowl for Kids’ Sake.” This year’s theme is the “Ope Bowl,” and features all things Wisconsin and Midwest.
The event takes place on Friday and Saturday at Parkway Lanes. It's raising money to put on events for the mentors, or “bigs” and their mentees, or “littles,” and to vet those mentors to ensure the children’s safety.
Realitay Johnson is 18 now, and has been in the program for six years.
“At first, I didn't want to talk to people because I thought, you know, negative feedback and shutting myself in,” Johnson said. “But over time and the people I talked to, it ended up rubbing off and getting that confidence—speaking out and hanging out, it felt good.”
Johnson said she’s treasured her relationship with her “big.”
“It was a really really fun experience to have a big sister because I don't have one,” Johnson said. “I am the oldest and it's kind of like balancing out, like, I got to do this, got to do that… and I never had like a big sister to look up to. So, it was really fun to finally have one.”
Sara Straub, the recruitment and match specialist with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Fond du Lac County, said this year, the organization hopes to make 80 more matches like the one Johnson has with her big.
“Kids today just need someone to be a in their corner, someone they can count on and be a consistent friend,” Straub said.
Straub said the organization currently has 129 active matches with around 100 kids still needing matches.
“Honestly, I think it's all about the children,” said Tammy Young, the executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Fond du Lac County. “We're talking to our future and we're trying to make sure that they're on the right path. Make sure they're making the right choices and make sure that they have a solid person in their life.”