Even if bowling isn’t up your alley, area residents who try their hand at it Sunday at Westbrook Lanes, 3156 51st Ave., will have a good chance to win prizes, have fun and help a local nonprofit.

Big Pals-Little Pals of Greater Columbus is gearing up for its annual Bowl-A-Thon, its signature fundraiser that sees teams made of various experience and age get on the lanes and knock down some pins.

“It’s not competitive. It’s just totally about having fun,” Big Pals-Little Pals Executive Director Andrea Holly said.

The nonprofit, a community-based program that matches inspiring adults with children to spark positive growth and development, will use 100 percent of the proceeds to help with its operating costs.

The Bowl-A-Thon will run from noon-1:45 p.m. and then 2-3:45 p.m. Holly said there were 25 teams made of various area businesses and civic groups registered as of Wednesday morning, noting teams will be able to bowl as much as they can during one of the two sessions.

It’s all in good fun, though Holly noted prizes (donated by numerous community groups and businesses) will be awarded during each session for things like ‘favorite team name.' Those who want to participate can do so by visiting https://bigpals.org/bowl and filling out the registration for a team of four and selecting a bowling preference time. Those interested are asked to do so by the end of the day on Thursday.

“The Bowl-A-Thon has always been a big fundraiser and continues to grow,” Big Pals-Little Pals Board of Directors member Justin Groteluschen said. “It’s a lot of fun. Everyone enjoys themselves; it brings the community together.”

Even if one doesn’t want to bowl or can’t attend Sunday, there is still a way to help out the organization and potentially win some prizes. Big Pals-Little Pals is also holding a raffle, selling one ticket for $5 or five for $20. There are a variety of items that have been submitted as raffle goodies thanks to the generosity of many local businesses, organizations and individuals, according to Holly.

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“There are a whole lot of prizes. These parties are fun,” she said. “There are a lot of great items …”

Among them are a set of three decorative wooden pumpkins, an area rug, Columbus Bucks, a massage session, gift baskets, two tickets to a University of Nebraska Omaha men’s hockey game against Miami Ohio on Nov. 22 and a 3-foot sub sandwich from Subway. The drawing for the prizes will happen that day, but people don’t have to be present to win.

Meanwhile, Holly continues to search for male residents who have an interest in being ‘Big Pals.’ The organization generally matches up Big Pals with Little Pals of the same gender. The time commitment is roughly just two hours each week during non-school hours. Holly said Big Pals can do a ton with their Little Pal, from playing a game, fishing and other hobbies to going for a walk in a park or spending time at The Y. Through it all, the idea is to teach the Little Pals life skills.

Additionally, Holly noted, she is hoping to find young girls, ages 6-16, who have an interest in being a Little Pal and matched with a Big Pal. There are several women in the community who have made the commitment to serve in the role and are just waiting on a match, she said.

“If it’s something you think about doing, come to the Bowl-A-Thon and talk to Andrea, board members and get more information,” Groteluschen said. “We need to keep it funded and financed to keep it going. We need to have mentors.”

For raffle tickets or more information, call Holly at 402-563-1081, or visit the Big Pals-Little Pals office at the Columbus Family Resource Center, 3020 18th St.

Matt Lindberg is the managing editor of The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at matt.lindberg@lee.net.

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Managing Editor

Matt Lindberg is an award-winning journalist and graduate of the University of Kansas.

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