BY SCOTT HUNTER HADDOW
As spring unfolds and brings warmer weather, Big Brothers of Sudbury has plenty of initiatives blossoming around the city.
On April 15, Big Brothers will hold their annual Volunteer Appreciation Dinner. The event will take place at the SteelworkerÂ?s Hall on Frood Road. The night starts at 5:30 pm.
Â?It's an opportunity for us to say thank you to our sponsors and supporters,Â? said Dave Battaino, executive director of Big Brothers Sudbury. Â?It's important to recognize these people for giving their time. I had a minimum of 100 volunteers who came across my door last year, and we moved over $300,000 in capital money.Â?
The evening will feature a delicious meal, award presentations, including the Northern Moose award, which goes to a vital mentor in a Northern Ontario community and an impressive keynote speaker.
Â?We're going to salute all of our sponsors and supports, especially the 40 Big Brothers in the city because they truly give their time to the little guys, and they're the reason we are here,Â? said Battaino. Â?Our keynote speaker for the evening will be Dr. James Grassby. He's a true pioneer of Sudbury and a fascinating man.Â?
Battaino is also instigating a giant pumpkin growing contest in Sudbury. He has obtained giant pumpkin seeds and is challenging other non-profit agencies to grow one of their own.
Â?This spring I am going to plant and grow my giant pumpkin right out in the front yard of our office,Â? said Battaino. Â?I am going to try and grow the biggest pumpkin in Northern Ontario.Â?
Also this spring, Battaino is planning on having a master wood carver complete some unfinished business at Market Square.
Â?Sometime in May, I am going to have Gary Leclaire, an expert wood carver finish off a sculpture of a big and little brother he started three years ago,Â? said Battaino. Â?Leclaire is a former world champion miniature bird carver and he carved down two tonnes of logs to life-sized sculptures. He's interesting to watch, and people love to see other people work with their hands. He had quite the following of people to see him carve when he was doing it.Â?
On Sunday, Battaino will take a group of about 30-35 kids to College Boreal for a gym day.
Â?The little brothers will participate in a mini Olympics, receive awards and watch a movie,Â? said Battaino. Â?We have a positive relationship with College Boreal and we want to do more with them.Â?
Big Brothers of Sudbury and District currently has 40 active matches, and is always looking for new Big Brothers to share their time with a Little Brother.