Bowl for Kids 2023: What’s New This Year?
It’s alright coz I’m Saved By The Bowl! We’re headed back to the 90’s for this year’s Bowl for Kids. Teams are forming, sponsors are joining, and bowlers are getting their 90’s costumes together. This year’s event will include some new elements and surprises while maintaining its focus on our mission.
A member of the Bowl for Kids planning committee, a Big Brother, and now, a member of BBBS’ Executive Board, Brandon Christensen understands all the moving parts involved in preparing for this year’s event, as well as the event’s significance. “We are working to have more engagement activities for people at the event, which is still a work in progress,” said Brandon. “Things such as a raffle, or the chance to purchase obstacles for bowlers on other teams, just some additional fundraising initiatives.”
“It’s going to be a lot of fun with the Saved by the Bowl theme and everyone dressing up in their favorite 90’s outfits,” he said. “We’re still working on additional ways to make it even more special.”
Several new ‘lead-up events’ are set to get the bowling ball rolling and strike up BFK enthusiasm. A Team Captain Meet Up will take place at Mean Eyed Cat on March 7. Get your team together so you can be a part of this insider gathering.
On March 29th, BFK participants, friends, and supporters are invited to a Spazmatics Concert at Speakeasy in downtown Austin. You’re going to want to invite your whole BFK team, friends, family, neighbors, and colleagues to this amazing concert – where part of the ticket proceeds go to BBBS!
Finally, rounding out the slate of lead-up events is a Trivia Night that will take place April 11 at Lustre Pearl East. It’s another chance for team building and spirited competition. Plus, a portion of select drink sales will benefit BBBS as well.
All in all, it’s a fun schedule of lead-up events that will take place prior to BBBS’ Bowl for Kids weekend, which has even veteran participants excited. “This will be my 20th year participating in Bowl for Kids and it’s always a fun time. It’s an event I’m 100 percent behind and always proud to be affiliated with,” said Brandon. “My only regret is that my Little Brother Javon won’t be able to join me this year. He’s been with me at past events.”
Brandon & Javon
Brandon and his Little Brother were matched for 6 years, but Javon aged out of the program last year when he turned 18. “He was 12 when we were first matched and we had a fantastic relationship,” said Brandon. “He’s a perfect example of how this program benefits kids and why Bowl for Kids matters.”
“We had so much in common. He’s very artistic, as am I. We both loved museums, loved action movies and we had a really strong bond.”
Brandon recognized the importance of this bond and the need to provide a strong foundation for his Little Brother. “I grew up in in a single-parent household too, and we were low-income,” said Brandon. “My mom worked two jobs to take care of me and my younger brother. So, I definitely could have benefitted from having a mentor.”
Although Brandon knew they had a strong relationship, he never really had a sense of how he was impacting Javon. Then Javon turned 17, and he got busy and distanced himself some from Brandon. “I thought he was on track to go to college,” said Brandon, “but it was 7 or 8 months of silence. I didn’t hear from him.”
His Little Brother had been an honor roll student, taking advanced physics and engineering classes… and then he dropped out of school.
“There was kind of a pause in our relationship,” said Brandon. “I had sort of given up. And then he reached out. It was a very emotional call. He just poured out all of these things that had happened to him. He had kind of veered off path, got in with the wrong crowd, and he knew it wasn’t the kind of life he wanted. He said, ‘I’m sorry I haven’t been responsive. I want you to know you’ve always been a great friend and positive mentor to me.’”
It was the mentoring relationship, and the 6 years of time invested, that helped Javon get back into school to get his GED and get his life on track. “He’s kind of followed in my footsteps and has enlisted in the Navy,” said Brandon. “I was in the Air Force and I think all of my talk about that time had an influence on him. He is so excited about it. He said he wants to have a career he can be proud of and have a sense of purpose.”
“He wants to pursue college after his navy career. He’s set his mind on a career in the CIA,” said Brandon. “He scored really high on his aptitude test so he’s easily able to qualify for the specialty jobs he’s interested in in IT and cyber security, and I think he’s going to do really well in the navy and beyond.”
This is why Brandon gives his time and energy to BBBS in so many different ways. “To have a direct impact… to see Bigs and Littles matched and know Bowl for Kids is going to raise money to fund more matches that have outcomes similar to what I’ve had with Javon, that is why I do it. That’s why it’s so important.”
Bowl for Kids is only one weekend out of the year, but as Brandon’s match with Javon shows, its impact can last a lifetime.
Learn more and sign up to Bowl for Kids today!