Champagne Bash Held to Raise Dollars for Big Brothers Big Sisters
By Diamond Hunt-Coleman
Volunteers with Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Big Bend have an agreement that comes from an old African proverb: it takes a village to raise a child.
That’s why those volunteers have dedicated themselves to be that village for children in Tallahassee by raising as much money as possible to meet the needs of each child. On Aug. 7, they closed off their fiscal year by hosting a “Champagne Bash” at the DoubleTree Hotel.
The Champagne Bash is one of two annual events that the organization hosts to raise money. The event is put on to help raise funds for: their school based program, community based program, and their program that focuses on mentoring the children with parents in prison. In addition to the fundraising, the event serves as a celebration for all of the people who helped to make the year a major success.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Big Bend is an organization geared toward mentoring children in the community on a one-to-one basis by pairing each “Little” brother or sister with a “Big” mentor. Many people in Tallahassee know what it means to need a mentor throughout the formative years in life. More importantly individuals such as former city commissioner John Paul Bailey knows what it feels like to be an older sibling and to still need that positive role model.
“Having mentors, a big brother or a big sister — having somebody there for you — that’s the greatest thing in the world,” said Bailey. “I grew up very poor, south side of Tallahassee and I had several older people help me in my younger years that helped me to get to where I am today.”
Adorned with top hats and tiaras, men and women from all across the city came together to dance the night away and sipped bubbly all while recapping what a successful year they`d had even though the organizations tax dollars had been cut for the year.
Interim CEO Alva Striplin of Big Brother Big Sister of the Big Bend explains how the fluctuations and cuts in state funding are what make events like the Champagne Bash even more important to Big Brother Big Sister of the Big Bend.
“Part of what makes us successful is a lot of the support we do behind the scenes. We follow up with our “Bigs” and “Littles” throughout the year and make sure that they`re compatible and safe,” said Striplin. “It cost money to interview people, we don’t do a simple fingerprint check. We actually put them through a very rigorous background check to ensure the safety of the child.”
By the end of the night, the set goal of $25,000 was much closer to be met. Even though they closed off their fiscal year by toasting to a good cause, the need for funds and resources never stops.
For more information about donating to Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Big Bend, visit bigbendmentoring.org.