April 25, 2016
Section: News (Local)
A Big Leg Up
HARRISONBURG — Ralph Sampson was a little out of his
Sampson, 55, a former basketball star at the University
of Virginia and a first overall pick in the 1983 NBA draft, can do just about
anything with a basketball. But bowling balls? That's a different story.
"We will find out," he said before taking to
the lanes. "I haven't bowled in a couple years."
As part of a weekend visit, the 7-foot-4-inch city native
stopped by Valley Lanes on South Main Street for Bowl For Kids' Sake. The
annual event is the largest fundraiser for Big Brothers Big Sisters of
Harrisonburg-Rockingham County and provides more than 20 percent of its annual
Sampson was one of about 750 to 800 bowlers raising money
Saturday for the nonprofit, which matches children facing adversity, called
"littles," with adult mentors, known as "bigs."
"They do a great job," he said. "Their
program is wonderful; their staff is great, and they've been doing this for a
number of years."
The local Big Brothers Big Sisters chapter raised more
than $110,000 by the end of Saturday, falling short of its goal of $127,000.
Sue Totty, executive director of the agency, said the money can serve between
100 and 150 children.
"It's been extremely successful, and I think any
time you have an event that brings over $100,000 in the Valley, that's a pretty
premier event," she said.
In 2015, the agency served 638 children, which was the
most of any chapter in Virginia. Totty said its goal is to serve at least 650
children this year.
Bowl For Kids' Sake 2016 took on a groovy 1970s theme to
celebrate the agency's 40th anniversary.
In keeping with the era's fashion trends, 58-year-old
Nathan Barge of Harrisonburg bowled in a Nehru shirt and costume dreadlocks.
Boris Ozuna (left) helps Sonia Funez, 8, both of Harrisonburg, pick out a bowling ball during Bowl For Kids’ Sake on Saturday at Valley Lanes. The event is the largest fundraiser for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Harrisonburg-Rockingham County. (Photo by Austin Bachand)
Barge, a "big" in the program for about a year
and a half, said he's taken his "little," a seventh-grader at Wilbur
S. Pence Middle School, to the Harrisonburg International Festival, on bicycle
rides and to family cookouts.
"It's just a lot of fun," he said, "to
come out and support this program.
Contact Ryan Cornell at 574-6286 or
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