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Bowling fundraiser coming to Artesia

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ARTESIA — Stacey Heacox, the director of Artesia’s branch of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southeast New Mexico, said next month’s Bowl For Kids Sake in Artesia accounts for half of their funding.

“Big Brothers Big Sisters is considered a premiere mentoring agency,” she said. “We are an affiliate of a national organization and then the Artesia program is an affiliate of the regional branch, which covers all of Southeastern New Mexico.”

She said that her organization supports one-to-one mentoring.

“In Artesia, we have three different programs,” Heacox said. “We have two versions of what we call the Lunch Buddy program, which basically encompasses high school volunteers and adult volunteers. That involves meeting a child in our program, one time a week on their lunch break at school.”

She said the other program is based in the community and that means taking the kids out into the community and participating in community activities and that takes place four hours a month.

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Heacox said her job is to recruit volunteers for these programs, “and that comes from word of mouth and any opportunity to spread awareness about the program.”

“The children either come to me through self-referrals, that means their parent comes to me, but my primary sources for identifying children are the school counselors,” Heacox added.

Heacox said volunteers go through a layered background check, which means federal, state and local records are checked. For those who may be driving kids around, she said driving records are checked as well.

She added that volunteers are also intereviewd, “it’s an extensive interview, it’s generally nine to 14 questions.”

References are also checked as well.

Heacox said volunteers are always welcome.

She said next month’s Bowl For Kids Sake will be her fourth one.

“Bowl For Kids Sake is something Big Brothers Big Sisters does across the nation,” Heacox said. “It’s something national came up with as a fundraiser and then it’s up to the affiliates to take those templates and run with it.”

Heacox said the first one was small as it was her first time learning the ropes.

“We’re hoping for a reallly big year this year. Last year, the economy did play a role in being a little smaller,” she said.

Heacox said HollyFrontier energy produces the largest group of bowlers for the annual event.

“We’ve actually gone to giving them a private session,” she said. “Because they have so many teams, so they’re a wonderful supporter.”

Heacox added that the Downtown Lions Club also has a number of bowlers that participate too.

“They’re a little competitive in terms of fundraising,” she said. “They have been our top team individual fundraisers for every year. They are doing two teams this year and the teams are competing against each other to see which one is going raise the most money.”

Heacox is looking for at least 14 teams to sign up for this year’s event which is set for Feb. 24 at Artesia Lanes from 1 to 3 p.m.

“I try to leave a couple of lanes open for kids in the program to come hangout and enjoy the event, too,” she said.

Five teams have signed up so far. Heacox said, “Every team consists of five players, we ask that each player raise a minimum of $100 for Big Brothers Big Sisters.”

She said corporations can also sponsor teams as well.

Heacox is asking bowlers to show up 30 minutes early for registration. Those who bowl will get a free T-shirt and there will be plenty of door prizes too.

Heacox said each bowling event has a theme and this year’s will be no exception as the theme is taken from Disney’s “Aladdin” movie.

“Costumes aren’t required, it’s always fun if someone is feeling brave and wants to dress up,” she said.

Heacox added that Roswell will be hosting Bowl for Kids Sake in April.

More information may be obtained by calling Heacox at 910-1882.

General assignment reporter Mike Smith can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 307, or at sports2@rdrnews.com.

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