WILKES-BARRE TWP. – Amanda Tomaselli's little sister Natalie might look up to her as a role model, but she doesn't need her advice when it comes to Wii bowling.
She's always better than me, said Tomaselli. She teaches me how to do it.
Playing another round at the Wyoming Valley Mall Saturday, Natalie knocked down a respectable three strikes in 10 frames. Not bad for a 9-year-old.
Tomaselli, 20, of Dallas, has mentored Natalie in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program for the past three years. They do arts and crafts, visit sites such as a local animal shelter and work on Natalie's homework. Our relationship has grown and she's become more open, Tomaselli said. I think it's a great program for both of us.
On Saturday, the pair got together again, along with area media personalities Tom and Noreen Clark, of WNEP-TV, and Frankie Warren, of Magic 93 Radio, to play Wii bowling for the nonprofit organization that first introduced them: Big Brothers Big Sisters of The Bridge, based in Wilkes-Barre.
Big Brothers Big Sisters hosted the event to help promote its upcoming 2013 Bowl For Kids' Sake fundraiser.
The fundraising event – which will take place locally March 23 at Stanton Lanes in Wilkes-Barre, Bowl Arena in Hazleton and Shadowbrook Inn and Resort in Tunkhannock – allows teams of three to five people to bowl a single game, and to collect donations in either flat denominations or for every pin they knock down.
It's just a wonderful event for a great organization, Warren said. Like I say on the air, there's nothing more important than giving the next generation a helping hand and a step ahead on the road.
Tanya Olaviany, program director for Big Brothers Big Sisters, said children with mentors typically do better in school, have better peer and family relationships, are less likely to abuse drugs and alcohol, and are less likely to be involved in delinquent activities than their at-risk peers.
It's giving the kids the foundations to grow up to be solid members of our community, Olaviany said.
Honorary event chairwoman Noreen Clark added, My belief is the more adults around a child, the better off that child is going to be.
Proceeds from Bowl For Kids' Sake, the organization's main fundraiser, help pay staff members who recruit, screen and train volunteers, assess children and provide ongoing support to volunteers and children, Olaviany said. All money raised at the fundraiser will remain in the organization's five-county coverage area, she added. Last year's Bowl For Kids' Sake raised $92,000.
Saturday's kick-off at the Wyoming Valley Mall helped Big Brothers Big Sisters to get the word out while offering potential participants a chance to practice on the Nintendo Wii.
This is actually a little easier on my back than real bowling, joked Tom Clark, who has taken part in Bowl For Kids' Sake for the past 15 years and served as honorary chairman since 2011.
Ten-year-old Lamirah Cromwell of Plains Township asked her mom to take her to Saturday's event, and had a great time bowling at the mall. It's really extra fun for kids, and its more activity, Cromwell said. It's more to do.
For more information, visit www.bbbsnepa.com or call 824-8756.