CHESTERVILLE -– For Ron Graham, the new executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cornwall and District, his first foray into the annual Bowl for Kids Sake was a memorable and successful one.

Teams gathered at the Chesterville Bowling Lanes with more than $9,000 being raised on Sun., Feb. 4 in addition to the more than $54,000 raised in Cornwall a day earlier. For Graham, the event and organization holds a special place in his heart and for good reason.

“I was the first little brother in 1973 when the organization opened. I was involved with the agency all my life, as a big brother, as a board member and sitting on different committees,” said Graham.

North Dundas Mayor Eric Duncan (left) and Big Brothers Big Sisters executive director Ron Graham (centre back) pose with Betty Wheeler (centre front) and members of Frank and Ronnie’s Cuties before enjoying an afternoon of bowling. Frank and Ronnie’s Cuties have been participating in the annual event for more than 30 years. Press Photo – Schoch

The Big Brothers and Big Sisters program shaped Graham into the person he has become. Today, it offers kids the same opportunity and the chance to build relationships that can last a lifetime.

“My relationship with my big brother lasted until five years ago when he passed away… I did a lot of things.  My big brother was into fishing, hunting and woodworking. That’s all skills that I kept over the years. If I wouldn’t have had a mentor like that I wouldn’t have had an opportunity to do any of those things. He was a big outdoors person and now I’m a big outdoors person,” he said.

While fundraising is a big part of charities like this one, Graham stressed that there are a variety of ways people can get involved.

“We have a long waiting list of 170 kids. A lot of those kids are young boys so we’re looking for a lot more male mentors to volunteer and if you can’t do that there’s always something you can do to help us out,” he said.

All the money raised from the weekend events will stay in the counties. To find out more information on how to get involved in the Big Brothers and Big Sisters program call 613 933 8045 or go to www.bigbrothersbigsisters.ca/cornwall.