March 21, 2013
For the second straight year, Community First raised about $7,700 to support Big Brothers Big Sisters and overwhelm Fox Communities Credit Union in a fundraising challenge for Bowl For Kids’ Sake.
About 60 Community First employees hit the lanes, most of them at the 10th Frame in Appleton March 14 for the Bowl For Kids’ Sake fundraiser for Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Fox Valley Region. They came out in style with big hair and bell bottoms, dressed for the theme “Awesome 80s.”
The final fundraising tally was: Community First CU $7,691.85 and Fox Communities CU $2,325.80.
Many CFCU employees donated in various ways, including a casual day, making pledges for bowlers, purchasing meals and treats. Connie Burhans was the overall individual fundraising winner with $455 followed by Matt Krueger with $365.
Burhans, a residential mortgage specialist, and other members of the Fabulous 80’s Ladies bowling team (Laura Plamann, Robert Glasheen, Lynn Miller and Cindy Nadke) raised $1,359, including $264 through the sale of ice cream treats at the office.
“I have great friends and family that support me in what I do and believe in,” said Connie, who received donations by sending out letters via email, word of mouth advertising and some phone calls. “I know what a great impact Big Brothers Big Sisters has on the children in our community. I know how important it is that all kids have a local mentor.”
Melanie Schroeder, Big Brothers Big Sisters’ director of marketing and special events, offered special thanks to Community First for its help and support of Bowl for Kids’ Sake. “This event would not be the success that it is without the help and support of community-minded organizations like yours,” she said.
Big Brothers Big Sisters is a nonprofit, donor-volunteer supported youth mentoring organization. The agency has been the leader in one-to-one youth service for more than a century, developing positive relationships that have a direct and lasting impact on the lives of young people ages 6 to 18.
Community First role model/mentors
Several CFCU employees are involved with BBBS in leadership roles or serving as role models and mentors to Little Brothers or Little Sisters.
"It is the type of organization that changes lives for the better with everything they do,” said CFCU senior vp Laurie Butz, who shares her human resources expertise as a BBBS Fox Valley Region board member since 2011 after previous involvement in the Green Bay chapter. “Their vision is to positively impact communities by connecting youth with caring mentors and changing lives for the better, forever.”
Her CFCU colleague Mindi Dunaway, assistant vice president-plastics, also serves on the local BBBS board after six years as a Big Sister. Mindi’s husband, Dustin, still has a Little Brother because of the great need for male mentors. “We have three daughters, and I thought it would be great for him to spend some time with boys since he is surrounded by girls at home,” Mindi said.
Jessica Streich, part of CFCU’s marketing team, and her husband Adam have been spending quality time with an 8-year-old Little Brother the past year. Even though only one hour is required every other week, they get together weekly with Jesse for about three hours for sit-down dinners, occasional board and video games, kicking a soccer ball or throwing a football. Adam has also introduced Jesse, who has four sisters and a single-mom, to fishing and hunting. “He doesn’t have to learn a foreign language in school but both my husband and I are pretty fluent in Spanish so we’ve been teaching him Spanish,” she said.
Both have also shown him how to properly and safely use various power tools. “He helped Adam and I build a tree stand for our hunting land. I’m not a hunter but I kind of like doing all that hands-on work with the saws. Anytime we have to fix something, we’ll wait until he’s with us so he can see how we’re fixing it. Adam gives him tools to help so he feels like he’s part of it.”
Participating in the Bowl For Kids’ Sake helped convince Jennifer Falish, a CFCU member lending contact specialist, to become a Big Sister.
“It’s a very worthy organization to get involved in,” said Jennifer, a married mother of a 9-year-old daughter and a 4-year-old son but still an active volunteer with Girl Scout, 4-H and the Fair Board. “There’s a lot of kids in our community that don’t have the adult involvement that they should and I have the time to do it. So I figured now would be a good time to start.”
“I have a friend who made it through childhood because of her Big Sister,” she said. “So, that is very near and dear.”
By the numbers: Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Fox Valley Region
147 Number of children on the waiting list for matches, including 116 boys.
500+ Number of annual Big-Little matches
3 Years - average length of a match
59.5 Percentage of Little Brothers/Sisters reporting improved academic success
84 Percentage of Littles who say their mentor match relationship is very important
84 Percentage of Littles reporting they learned problem solving skills from their mentors
Big/Little connection: Life-long positive impacts on adults mentored as a child
84% said they learned the importance of helping others
81% said the experience changed their perspective of what they thought was possible in life
77% set higher goals than they would have on their own
69% said their relationship with their Big helped them make better choices as an adult
65% reported reaching a higher level of education than they thought possible
(Source: 2010 Harris Interactive survey for Big Brothers Big Sisters)