At 4:00 p.m. on July 16th the Pig + Fig Café will host a beer dinner at the Bathtub Brewing Co-Op. The six-course dinner with beer pairings benefited Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS).
Big Brothers Big Sisters offers one on one mentorship to children between the ages of 8-15. The Los Alamos and Rio Arriba region serves just under 200 children. The Mountain Region of BBBS (which includes Los Alamos/Rio Arriba (LA/RA), Gallup, Las Cruces, Las Vegas and Taos counties) serves over 1,100 kids.
To ensure integrity of the program BBBS has community support specialists. This person’s job is to make sure that all the Bigs get fingerprinted and background checks before being matched up. Bigs and Littles are then matched according to mutual interests and goals. There are two programs in the LA/RA region: the Lunch Buddies and the Community Based.
The mentors sign up for a year in the Community Based Program, but the relationships formed often last much longer than that. “I know a lot of people who are still friends 10, 20 or even 30 years later,” said Art Brown, the Chair of the Regional Board.
The process of matching Bigs with Littles is expensive. Every match requires a $1,500 investment.
According to Brown, over the past 7 years they have focused their fundraising energy on one goal, to raise enough money to be able to pay for all the matches in the Los Alamos and Rio Arriba region. “We’re not there yet,” said Brown. “Last year almost 50 kids joined in Rio Arriba, which is phenomenal. We want to match as many kids as possible. Once we’re self-sufficient we can start to help other regions. Las Vegas needs help.”
Laura Hamilton, the owner of The Pig + Fig Café, has hosted dozens of sold out beer and wine dinners in the past year and several fundraisers for organizations like Self Help, Inc, The Los Alamos Special Olympics, and the Anita Salas Memorial Fund.
“Laura and I are friends. We golf together,” said Brown. “She approached us and said that she wanted to help. It is civic members like Laura that will help us take care of the many needs in our communities.” She will donate the profits of the dinner to BBBS.
Ben Bowman and Rose Evans are two LA/RA BBBS board members who will help Laura set up for this dinner. Other board members include Art Brown, Kelly Meyers, Rhonda Herrera, Paula Pana, Darroll Abeyta, Leo Marquez, Linda Padilla, Thomas Garcia, Rose Evans, Ben Bouman. Staff members include Glenda Sanchez (Regional Director), Kenna Chavarria (Community Support Specialist) and Madeline McKeen (Community Support Specialist).
Other LA/RA Big Brothers Big Sisters annual fundraisers include the Espanola Bowl for Kids’ Sake, the Los Alamos Golf Tournament. To donate to Big Brothers Big Sisters visit http://www.bbbsmountainregion.org/.