MUSCATINE, Iowa–Since March, peoples’ lives have turned upside down. This has proved especially true for kids. However, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Muscatine County worked to keep children in their program in touch with caring adults, even when they could not always get together in person. As Big Brothers Big Sisters Director Lindsey Phillips put it, “many routines and consistencies have dissolved through this pandemic, but having a caring adult in your life doesn’t have to be an additional loss.” Big Brothers Big Sisters also continues to recruit new grown up volunteers as Bigs to match with Littles, expanding the number of children who benefit from the program.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic has presented challenges for Big Brothers Big Sisters even past finding ways for Bigs and Littles to meet. To keep their Bigs, Littles, and supporters safe, Big Brothers Big Sisters opted to cancel two fundraisers this spring and summer, including their new Little Run. They also rescheduled their Over the Edge fundraiser originally slated for this fall for spring of 2021. The cancellation of these fundraisers cost the group dearly, keeping them from bringing in around $40,000. “We knew we needed to get creative and offer an event that can accommodate a safe environment and social distancing,” said Phillips.
Their solution came in the form of Hoops for Kids’ Sake, a free throw contest designed for everyone ages six and up. For $20, participants can sign up to compete for the most free throws in their age group. In light of the ongoing pandemic, Big Brothers Big Sisters designed the event with social distancing built into every part of it. Each participant will receive a time to come to the Y to compete. When competitors arrive, they will check in through a Plexiglas window without ever having to exchange any materials. Once in the gym, each player will have their own basket to shoot at, and two volunteers to help retrieve their ball stationed 12 to 15 feet away from them. Players may opt to bring their own basketballs or borrow properly sanitized ones. Big Brothers Big Sisters will also have hand sanitizer readily available for all participants and volunteers to use.
Hoops for Kids’ Sake will take place Saturday, Aug. 1, with registration available on the Muscatine Community Y website through the day of the event. Phillips encourages anyone who loves shooting hoops and supporting good causes to consider coming out and showing Big Brothers Big Sisters their support at the event. “Big Brothers Big Sisters programming is extremely important in our community, Phillips emphasized. “$20 and ten minutes of someone’s time can make a huge difference in a life and you will have fun, too!”
Each year, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Muscatine County works with more than 200 Bigs and Littles, and 45 Littles still need a Big to pair with. By participating in Hoops for Kids’ Sake you can help keep these programs available for the many people who use them, and help more children find the mentors they need to grow up happy and successful.