NORMAN — The annual fundraising gala of the Norman chapter of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Oklahoma will take a more casual approach this year with a tailgate theme.
The Big Tailgate will include samples from various local restaurants, live entertainment and live and silent auctions.
Money raised will go toward pairing at-risk children ages 6 to 18 with a mentor.
Mentors, or “Bigs,” spend at least an hour a week for a year with the child, or “Little,” helping with homework, errands or doing other activities.
“It’s $1,500 to fund a match for a year,” said Mikaela Borecky, area director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Norman.
“We don’t just match our next big with our next little. There’s a process to coordinate their likes and dislikes and pair a good outcome.”
Borecky said the idea for the casual theme came from sponsors who have been involved with the event. The organization is in its ninth year of its “Big Taste” fundraiser, but most have been black-tie events. Sponsors said they desired to see something different and less formal.
“We’re in Norman, what do we like to do?” she asked. “We like to have fun. We like to support our teams.”
Guests are encouraged to represent their favorite team in tailgate-appropriate attire. Individual tickets can be purchased for $75, or a table of eight can be reserved for $600.
Anyone is welcome to attend, regardless of involvement with the Norman nonprofit.
“One of the great things about the Norman community is it embraces our program,” Borecky said.
“These are local kiddos. These are the kids in our neighborhoods, in our schools, in our shopping centers, interacting with our kids and our families. These kids really are the future of Norman.”
The Norman chapter of Big Brothers Big Sisters was established 40 years ago. It now serves 500 local children who live in single-parent homes, grow up in poverty or have one or both parents incarcerated.
According to the Big Brothers Big Sisters website, the goal is to show participating children their potential.
Data included in a Big Brothers Big Sisters of Oklahoma news release show that, after a year, the majority of participating children display increased self-confidence, academic performance and classroom participation.
“To see their grades a year later, to see how they see themselves a year later, is just outstanding,” Borecky said. “They might be tiny achievements, but to them, these are mountains they have climbed.”
IF YOU GO
The Big Tailgate