New Name, Same Mission
Back Row: Nicole Capri, Chris Olsen, Reggie Richardson. Front Row: Travis Meyer, Donna Terrell, Natalie Black
Photography by Ashlee Nobel and Janet Warlick
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arkansas (BBBSCA) works daily to accomplish their mission: “to provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring professionally-supported one-on-one relationships that change their lives for the better … forever.” A staff of 11 support 425 matches, which consist of mentors — high school students, professionals and community leaders — and Littles, children ages 6 to 18.
BBBSCA has two programs: site mentoring, BIGs meet their Littles during the school day once a week to have lunch, read, work on assignments or simply talk; and community-based mentoring, during which BIGs meet with their Littles two to three times monthly, going on outings and participating in organized activities sponsored by BBBSCA.
To help remove financial obstacles and make it possible for any willing participant to become a Big, BBBSCA’s fundraising committee Big League, BBBSCA staff and other volunteers raise funds through a number of events, including Bowl for Kids Sake, Toast & Roast, Bowl for Kids Sake Online Auction, a destination raffle and Rockin’ Singles in the City, which is now the BIG Night Out. The name change reflects a change in this year’s event.
Just as in the past, auction participants will bid on outings, however, the hosts are not necessarily single, and each of the outings is for four to six or more people. For instance, philanthropists Tiffany and Daniel Robinson will host a dinner for up to 10 people with chef Greg Lloyd; and gardening extraordinaire Chris Olsen, owner, Botanica Gardens, and Travis Meyer, chef and owner of Cinco Entrees, will host a private dinner for six at Olsen’s residence.
“We planned this unique event with two goals in mind. First we want to ensure that every child in central Arkansas who needs a positive influence in his or her life can have one, and secondly, to create that BEST summer party in Little Rock. Attending BIG Night Out is a great way to support Big Brothers Big Sisters and have fun doing it,” Lakethia Glenn said. She serves as director of development for BBBSCA.
Each BBBSCA match costs about $1,000/annually, and 87% of the monies raised annually for the organization is directly used to benefit those served. More than 15 percent of the children served in this mentoring program are 6 to 9 years old; more than 50 percent are 10 to 12 years of age; 15 percent are 13 and 14 years of age; and about 20 percent are 15 to 18. More than half of the Littles are female.
So, who is your “typical” BIG? “Any one who wants to make a difference in our community and the lives of our youth can be a BIG,” Christel Cater, director of programs and marketing, said. “Our site-based BIGs have to be at least 16, community BIGs must be at least 19, and all individuals must agree to complete our interview and application process.”
The BIG Night Out will begin at 6 p.m., May 18. The evening will include a silent auction with items such as paintings; gift certificates for restaurants and locally-owned clothing stores; Pandora jewelry, fine jewelry from Lauray’s; a hot air balloon event; and more. Food will be catered by Next Level Events, and beer, courtesy of Golden Eagle, wine, courtesy of Barefoot Cellars and margaritas, courtesy of Don’s Supply, will be served. Blackmon Auctioneers will conduct the outings live auction. The evening will be emceed by Heather and DC of Alice 107.7. Tickets for this event, which will be held at Next Level Events, 1400 W. Markham, are $35 in advance, $40 at the door. For more information, call (501) 374-6661 or log onto bbbsca.org.
The BIG Night Out is sponsored by Alice 107.7, AY Magazine, Big League, Maple Leaf Canvas, Edward Jones, Supreme Fixtures, Data Path and TME.
Host: Officer Tommy Norman
Outing: Arkansas Travelers Suite for 15 along with food and beverages
Hosts: Travis Meyer and Chris Olsen
Outing: Dinner for six at Olsen’s Home
Host: Jim Agerton
Outing: Game outing for six to see the Memphis Grizzlies, along with dinner and hotel accommodations
Host: Nicole Capri
Outing: Dinner for four at Brave New Restaurant, backstage tour and tickets to “A Loss of Roses” at The Arkansas Repertory Theatre
Host: Reggie Richardson
Outing: Private dinner for up to 20
Host: Natalie Black
Outing: Dinner for four and tickets to Red Hot Chili Peppers concert, Oct. 25
Host: Donna Terrell, anchor, and Robert Richardson, sales director, FOX 16
Outing: Dinner and poolside party
for up to 12
Other hosts and outings:
Rachel Earls, cooking classes at Eggshells with Faith Anaya, owner, Kids Cook Arkansas; Susanne Roberts, dinner and wine for up to five people and skeet shoot outing at Remington; Jerry Bailey, chef concierge, Capital Hotel, guided tour and wine and cheese party for 12 at the Capital Hotel; Renee Shapiro, KATV movie critic, dinner and a movie for four; Michael Peace, owner, Maduro Cigar Bar & Lounge, “Cigars 101” lesson, cigar-and-wine/drink pairing; and Michael Golf, trout fishing on the Red River for up to six.