Big Brothers Big Sisters of Lacombe and District (BBBS) recently capped off their 30th year with their annual Great Big Christmas Dinner.
The dinner celebrates the families, staff, sponsors and volunteers that makes BBBS a success.
“We have been serving Lacombe and district for 30 years. Since then, we have also taken on Blackfalds and Eckville. We have had a lot of volunteer manpower help us out and we have been able to serve a lot of children,” Executive Director Crystal Zens said.
Zens said the diversity of their program has allowed them to serve the community more and more.
“Our core programs continue to serve with community mentoring and in-school mentoring. Since then, we have had a lot of group mentoring programs which allow us to serve kids in more ways especially for kids on our wait list,” she said.
“We just launched Tutoring Tuesdays, which is a free program for our kids at the Bamford House and that has been a popular addition.”
The dinner, which is not a major fundraiser for BBBS, is a way to give back to families, mentors and volunteers and there are some draws, raffles and a 50/50 draw as well.
“We had about 290 in attendance, which is a pretty good turnout,” Zens said.
One of the newest awards of the evening was the Colby Sackett Memorial Scholarship, which is in honour of Sackett — a teen mentor —who passed away.
“His family was present at our dinner on Monday and helped us present that inaugural award to Lucas Cameron, who is one of our littles who became a teen mentor. He is going to RDC to take psychology,” Zens aid.
Currently BBBS is hosting their Festival of Wreaths, where local businesses auction off decorated wreaths to the community. Many of the wreaths have added deals and specials throughout the region.
“We have had 36 businesses in Lacombe and Blackfalds submit their wreaths. The auction is online, at the LMC and the Abbey Centre. Our goal for the auction is $8,000,” Zens said.
Following that, BBBS will gear up for their annual Bowl For Kids, which raised $60,000 last year.
“The economy is kind of sensitive right now and people are going through hard times. We are thinking the Bowl for Kids might not do as well but in the new year we are doing a collaboration with the Dancers Edge parents, which is A Night Among the Starts. It is like Dancing With the Stars,” Zens said.
Overall, 2019 was a healthy financial year for BBBS according to Zens.
“The community really came together and came through for us. We sold every single month for landlord of the month from local donations. We also had a Memorial Donation, which as for five months,” she said
Overall, the mortgage on the Bamford house is down to $135,000 from $150,000 due to programs like Landlord of the Month.
Zens added she hopes people bid on the fabulous wreaths created by local business.