Baseball and Bowling: Helping At-Risk Kids Thrive

The 2016 Royals baseball season is in full swing, and once again I'm regularly decked out in my fan gear cheering on our boys in blue. It's been a season of ups and downs so far, but we are above .500 with our 43 wins and 39 losses (as of the writing of this blog). So, I'm pleased with our season so far. I've seen some great games and some not-so-great ones. I know it's tough to top last year's performance, but that doesn't mean I don't hope they can pull it off again come October. 

One of the reasons it's so easy to be a rabid Royals fan is the way our players conduct themselves as a team—on and off the field. And when they're off the field, they're usually making a great contribution to our community. There are a number of charities and fundraising events associated with the Royals organization that really help out those in need across our metropolitan area. In 2015, 122 organizations received funding from Royals Charities, a total of $1.5 million in grants that supported children, education, youth baseball/softball and the military in Kansas City. If that's not another reason to be proud of our home team, I don't know what is!

Step Up Big

One of Haas & Wilkerson Insurance's favorite organizations, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Kansas City (BBBSKC), received some of that support from the Royals, thanks to the hitting prowess of our own first baseman, Eric Hosmer. With the help of the fans through the Step Up Big program, Hosmer raised more than $9,000 for BBBSKC during the 2015 season. He's joined forces with BBBSKC again for the 2016 season to support its mission of creating life-changing friendships between children facing adversity and caring, adult mentors.

For every double Hosmer hits (and so far this year that's 18!), he's matching the pledged amount of the first 100 donors. And the good news is that there are 125 donors so far. This program has blown by the original $15,000 target and is in the process of raising an estimated $33,341 this year. So, let's all cheer Hosmer as he hits more doubles this season, and please join in to increase the total with your donation. It's for a great cause!

Make a Big Impact

If you don't know much about Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Kansas City, I urge you to check out their website or stop by and visit their recently renovated headquarters in the heart of the Crossroads District. BBBSKC is making a big difference in the lives of at-risk youth in our metro:

Serving over 1,700 youth in Kansas City each year, BBBSKC provides children facing adversity in one-to-one life-changing friendships with adult mentors. BBBSKC matches school-aged youth (Littles) from one-parent or other non-traditional homes, with caring, adult volunteers (Bigs). BBBSKC believes that youth who have a positive adult influence in his or her life are better able to reach their full potential. These one-to-one friendships, or “matches,” last a minimum of one year. BBBSKC’s average match length is 27 months, which is significantly longer than the national average match length of 20 months. BBBSKC offers at-risk children a long-term developmental relationship with a caring adult. Bigs serve as friends, mentors and role models, helping youth gain greater self-confidence and leadership skills. This model has been proven effective in changing the self-image of the child and therefore his or her behavior. 

Bowl for Kids' Sake

In addition to donating to BBBSKC through Hosmer's Step Up Big program, I hope you'll also consider breaking out your bowling shoes and Bowl for Kids' Sake this month. It's not too late to put together a team, gather your pledges, and then hit some strikes and spares to support kids. Team Haas & Wilkerson Insurance had a great turnout last year, and we're excited to see who will be our big bowlers this year!

The 2016 Bowl for Kids' Sake starts today, July 11, and runs through July 28. The lanes are located at 7701 Renner Road in Shawnee, Kan. You can sign your team up for a 90-minute bowling session here, but get on it quick—slots are filling quickly!

Kimberly Wilkerson is passionate about people and relationships. As an owner and vice president of Haas & Wilkerson Insurance, a Kansas City-based insurance broker, she’s focused on helping her company and community grow. She'll be cheering on her bowling team this month and the Royals all season long. 

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