NFL Hall of Famer Lynn Swann Returns to Pittsburgh, Joining Steeler Wide Receiver Antonio Brown to Kick Off Big Brothers Big Sisters National Bowl For Kids' Sake Annual Fundraiser National Mentoring Network Looks to Top $21 million in Donations

PITTSBURGH, March 7, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Steeler legend and Super Bowl Champion Lynn Swann and Pro Bowl Player and Steeler MVP Antonio Brown will be in Pittsburgh, Sunday, March 11, to kick off Big Brothers Big Sisters' national Bowl for Kids' Sake fundraiser.  The opening ceremony event is sponsored by the Arby's Foundation. 

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Bowl for Kids' Sake is the nationwide mentoring network's signature fundraiser, helping local agencies like Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Pittsburgh raise funds needed to carefully match volunteer mentors and children who face adversity in staff-supported, long-term mentoring friendships.  After more than 40 years, Bowl for Kids' Sake has become Big Brothers Big Sisters' largest national fundraiser, engaging more than a half million people across the country and raising more than $21 million last year, which the organization hopes to top in 2012.

A long-time supporter and former national Big Brothers Big Sisters board member, Swann is 2012 Bowl for Kids' Sake national honorary chairman.  Brown is honorary chair for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Pittsburgh's 2012 bowling fundraiser.

"I believe in the power of Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring programs, having seen it first hand for more than 30 years.  It's an honor to kick off the 2012 Bowl for Kids' Sake season and support an event that raises funds critical to the success of these mentoring programs," Swann said.

Brown, who has recorded a video promotion for the Pittsburgh Bowl for Kids' Sake campaign, has spent time with mentees from the local mentoring agency and is also raising money as a bowler at an event later this month.  The Steeler MVP hopes to raise $10,000 with his team (Chest Up, Eyes Up) to support mentoring matches in his community.

"I became involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters because I didn't have a mentor growing up and I understand what a difference it can make," Brown said. "A lot of these kids have all the potential in the world—they just need an opportunity and a direction.  It can all begin with Big Brothers Big Sisters!"

"Bowl for Kids' Sake is a grassroots event that allows individuals, families, friends, partner organizations and corporations to join us as champions for children" said Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Pittsburgh CEO Jan Glick. "We are so grateful to have the support of Lynn Swann, Antonio Brown and others in Steeler Nation who are serving as role model leaders, both nationally and locally this year."

In addition to local agencies asking participants to solicit pledges from friends and family to raise Bowl for Kids' Sake funds, a new web portal makes it possible for supporters to go online to find bowling events in their own communities, as well as view the progress of their fundraising efforts.

"Donor funds are what enable our agencies to do the careful mentor matching and provide the ongoing staff support that keeps the one-to-one relationships going strong long-term to help youth overcome adversity to succeed in school and life," said Max Miller, Co-CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.  "As the nation's largest mentoring network, we hold ourselves accountable for helping children achieve positive measurable outcomes including educational success, avoidance of risky and delinquent behaviors, improved relationships, higher aspirations and greater confidence."

Swann and Brown will join Miller, Glick, Greater Pittsburgh Board President Daniel Jenkins and Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, as well as mentors and mentees from Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Pittsburgh, at the National Bowl for Kids' Sake 2012 kickoff event. Pittsburgh bowlers can still sign up for the event, though space is filling up fast, at www.bbbspittsburgh.kintera.org and people across the country can support the effort by going to http://www.BigBrothersBigSisters.org/BowlForKidsSake.

About the Arby's Foundation, Inc.
Since 1986, the Arby's Foundation, Inc., a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization, has raised more than $52 million to support youth initiatives in the communities the foundation serves.  The Arby's Foundation is the charitable arm of Arby's Restaurant Group, Inc., and works together with AFA Service Corporation (Arby's Franchise Association), Arby's suppliers and the generosity of Arby's customers and employees to ensure that all children in America have access to wholesome food choices, because every child deserves to learn, play and grow. For more information on the Arby's Foundation, please visit
www.arbysfoundation.org.

About Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Pittsburgh
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Pittsburgh addresses a critical community need by introducing positive, consistent adult influences to children whose circumstances impede their paths to a healthy, successful future. Since 1965, we have provided safe, effective mentoring programs to tens of thousands of children across Allegheny, Greene, and Washington counties. Each year the agency serves nearly 1,200 children. By intervening in these young lives early, we help to mitigate school drop-outs and prevent on-set of delinquent behaviors. The programs adhere to the Big Brothers Big Sisters nationally-recognized, evidence-based prevention model: One child facing adversity is intentionally paired in a professionally-supported relationship with one pre-screened and trained adult volunteer. Start Something starts with each of us. Think of the possibilities. What will you start?

About Big Brothers Big Sisters
Big Brothers Big Sisters, the nation's largest donor and volunteer supported mentoring network, holds itself accountable for children in its program to achieve measurable outcomes, including educational success; avoidance of risky behaviors; and higher aspirations, greater confidence and better relationships.  Partnering with parents/guardians, schools, corporations and others in the community, Big Brothers Big Sisters carefully pairs children ("Littles") with screened volunteer mentors ("Bigs") and monitors and supports these one-to-one mentoring matches in building safe, enduring relationships.  The first-ever Big Brothers Big Sisters Youth Outcomes Summary, released in 2012, substantiates that its mentoring programs have proven, positive academic, socio-emotional and behavioral outcomes for youth, areas linked to high school graduation, avoidance of juvenile delinquency and college or job readiness.

Big Brothers Big Sisters provides children facing adversity, often those of single or low-income households or families where a parent is incarcerated or serving in the military, with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one mentoring relationships that change their lives for the better, forever.  This mission has been the cornerstone of the organization's 100-year history.  With about 350 agencies across the country, Big Brothers Big Sisters serves nearly 630,000 children, volunteers and families. Learn how you can positively impact a child's life, donate or volunteer at BigBrothersBigSisters.org.

SOURCE Big Brothers Big Sisters



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