By ROBERT PIERCE
• Leader & Times
Throughout the year, Big Brothers Big Sisters encourages people to donate money, and time, to the organization.
About this time every year, BBBS hosts its signature fundraiser, Bowl For Kids Sake, to give an extra boost to donations, and this year, some seniors from Liberal High School have decided to take on the task of raising money for the non-profit with another event.
AVID, or Advancement Via Individual Determination, students are in the process of planning a “glow run” next Saturday in the north parking lot at LHS.
Senior Karina Michel said the event is part of the community service hours that all students at LHS must obtain in order to graduate. She said the senior AVID class wanted to do something to help give back to the community.
“We had to figure out what kind of project we wanted to do,” she said.
What the class decided on was something involved with fitness and being outside, thus the glow run was born.
“It involved walking, and we had to decide on where we wanted to do it,” Michel said. “We all picked Big Brothers Big Sisters. We thought it would be a really good organization since they’re a non-profit organization.”
After deciding on the event and the beneficiary, the AVID class met with local BBBS director Kerry Seibel to smooth out the details.
Michel’s classmate, Isabel Rito, said for the students, the glow run is more than just a charity project.
“From our freshman year, we never wanted to leave the place as just Liberal, Kansas,” she said. “A lot of us are leaving to major at Division I, Division II schools, and we want to leave as we, in some way, benefited this town.”
Michel said the class began working little by little on the project at the start of the current school year.
“There was a lot of stuff like figuring out what logo we wanted to use or slogan, how we want to get the flyer started,” she said. “We had a bunch of groups within the class. Everybody could have a job, and we could put things together.”
Rito said the class tossed around several ideas before deciding on the glow run.
“We’re coming from a class of 26, 27 of us,” she said. “You have so many ideas thrown around.”
Glow runs have become popular in recent years in Kansas, and when she heard the students’ idea for one in Liberal, Seibel thought it would be fun.
“Liberal’s never had anything like this, so I think it’d be fun to incorporate,” she said. “They’ve got lots of stuff planned for out there such as the inflatables, face painting, tattoos. The drumline will be there. They’ll have a DJ out there. They plan on having stuff before hand during registration.”
Registrations will take place for the 4K run/walk starting at 5:30 p.m. in the north parking lot at LHS, with the run starting at 8 p.m.
Groups of four can register for $25, singles for $15 and students for $10. For more information, call Luz Riggs at 620-604-1225.
Seibel said the event is not just for runners.
“You can walk the course,” she said. “If you can’t walk the whole course, that’s fine too. A big celebration afterwards with the DJ.”
Rito said a glow run is very similar to a color run, and after seeing the color run hosted earlier this year by LHS’ After Prom Committee, the AVID group wanted to go in a little different direction.
“We thought that it didn’t have a very good turnout, so we wanted to think outside the box on what hasn’t Liberal had, what has many students not participated in,” she said. “What’s something different that would make even little kids go wild? We thought of glow sticks.”
Seibel said each participant will get a registration bag with many items inside.
“We’re going to provide glow necklaces, glow bracelets,” she said. “I think we have the glow sunglasses to give to them. We have glow balloons. With the course, the arrows will all be in glow paint. Everything will be lit up. The DJ will have black lights, so everything will glow and be kind of fun that way.”
Seibel said everyone is encouraged to dress from head to toe in as much glow paint as they can.
The director said when AVID approached her about the glow run, she thought it was a wonderful idea.
“It will be fun for them to incorporate their idea and their vision that they were looking at, along with benefitting a great organization,” she said.
Just a week after the glow run takes place, BBBS will then host the annual Bowl For Kids Sake event at Liberal’s Ayr Lane. Seibel said this year’s fundraiser is getting some help from three big names.
Kansas basketball coach Bill Self, Wichita State coach Greg Marshall and K-State coach Bruce Weber are serving as the spokesmen for this year’s campaign, and they are challenging each other to raise the most money for the cause with BFKS participants buying T-shirts with the logo of their favorite team.
Seibel said in addition to the three team shirts, participants can also get a generic BFKS shirt.
She said BBBS has urgent need for more male mentors in its program.
“We have got 36 boys on our waiting list currently,” she said. “That seems to be a problem across the state.”
Seibel said this is why the three coaches wanted to get involved and promote this year’s BFKS.
“They’re challenging each other to see who can get the most votes as far as schools.,” she said. “Teams can earn personal phone calls from the coaches. Donors can get a private appearance from one of the coaches of their choice.”
Those interested in sponsoring a bowler can do so for a minimum of $10.
“They can do corporate donation,” she said. “If they want to get a team together, they can call and get information.”
Teams of six people need to gather $150 in pledges. They can start at the Web site, www.kansasbowl.org, and each team raising from $900 to $1,000 will take one child off the waiting list.
The bowl is April 4 and 5, and participants are encouraged to register by April 2. Each person will get two games and shoes free courtesy of Ayr Lanes, and pizza will be provided courtesy of Pizza Hut. There will likewise be door prizes and a 50/50 drawing.