ARISS – The third annual Big Night Out Gala fundraiser for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Centre Wellington (BBBSCW) was a big success this year, raising over $55,000 for the non-profit organization. The event was held Feb.3 at the Ariss Valley Golf Club with 270 people in attendance for what has become the organizations largest fundraiser of the year.

“This event is truly an incredible night because of the community,” said Neil Armstrong, board chair of BBBSCW. “We felt the support in the room from the sponsors, donors and volunteers, and because of their overwhelming generosity, we will be able to do great things for the children in our programs.”

Armstrong adds that in 2017, BBBSCW supported 210 children, a record for the organization. While there are still more children on the waiting list then matched in the One to One program,  funds raised from the Big Night Gala will enable them to expand their reach in 2018.

Among the evening’s highlights were the presentations of two awards; the Big Star award was given to former board member and chair Julie Young for more than 20 years of dedication to the organization and the Jane Cooper Award for An Outstanding Little was presented to Amy Thompson.

Adding to the excitement was announcement of a capital campaign launched by entrepreneur and BBBSCW donor Allan Boyton, of Fergus. The initiative will raise funds for a hub location in Centre Wellington, bringing together groups and non-competing services in both the profit and not-for-profit sectors, to collaborate and serve youth.

“After learning of all the losses this community experienced this past Fall, I called up BBBSCW executive director, Kristen Drexler to figure out how we can do better. We imagined a place where youth could go and know that tomorrow will be better. She joked and say are you going to give me a half million dollars to fund this! I told her no but I will raise it!”

The campaign will be launched with a new community fundraising event, the McGinn Brothers Big Game for Big Brothers Big Sisters, a road ball hockey tournament scheduled for August 17, 2018, hosted by local NHL hockey players Brock, Tye and Jamie McGinn. The trio will invite teams from within the community and beyond to get involved by submitting a team in various youth age categories. The final round of play will include professional NHL players and members of the NHLPA.

“The McGinn Brothers Big Game is going to be an event that the whole community can get behind and be excited about. It will be a free family friendly day.”  Allan Boynton continued, “The work this organization does for the self-esteem of kids is pretty amazing and we need more of it.”

BBBSCW helps approximately 210 children in Centre Wellington through mentoring programs, including One to One match programs and In School mentoring.

Plans are already underway for the Big Night Gala 2019, but this year’s organizers are grateful to the sponsors, donors and attendees. The group’s next fundraising event is Bowl for Kids Sake scheduled for April 20 at the Victoria Senior Centre in Fergus and April 22 at Woodlawn Bowling in Guelph.

For more information, visit www.bigbrothersbigsisters.ca/centrewellington  or contact Kristen at 519-787-0106 ext. 223.

See pictures by clicking here.