Big Brothers Big Sisters Plan Golfer's Choice Raffle

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Imagine playing 18 holes of golf with two of your buddies on the exclusive green ranked 21 out of the 100 top courses in the United States: The Rim Golf Club in Payson.

For $50 you have a one in 400 chance of winning the grand prize of the First Annual Big Brother Big Sisters Golfer's Choice Raffle.

Sponsored by The Rim Golf Club and Chaparral Pines, the grand prize valued at more than $2500 is:

  • Eighteen holes of golf for three at The Rim Golf Club accompanied by the club golf pro.
  • Each golfer may bring a date and they will be treated to a one-day tour in a limousine to either Tonto Natural Bridge or the Mogollon Rim plus a tour of the homes at Chaparral Pines.
  • That evening, the winner will enjoy a complete dinner for six at the Rim Clubhouse restaurant.
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    The bundle of energy named River was happy to talk until he saw the plates piled high with hamburgers coming out of the kitchen. "I can really eat!" River said. Tom Reese has spent a few rewarding months being River's "big."

  • Finally, take pleasure in a one-night stay at the Chaparral Pine four-bedroom guest house with your own private butler.

The program that opened its arms to Payson in July of 2002 is selling tickets now for the May 2 drawing.

That same ticket gives you a one in 20 chance of winning a prize valued at $100.

Big Brothers Big Sisters exists to inspire children (referred to as littles) to become confident, competent, caring individuals by matching them with mentors (referred to as bigs) who believe in them.

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Giving away bicycles made Michael Maker, the vice president of club operations at Chaparral Pines, almost as excited as recipient Luke, one of the Littles invited to the special event for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Gila County.

"I have a friend that I can go out with," said Kathe Ketchem, the adult who was matched with her little, Sabrina, early on in the program.

In fact, the crocuses, tulips and daffodils that the two planted three years ago are poking their delicate green shoots through the ground and blossoming.

"It winds up being a lifetime relationship," Ketchem said with a big smile across the table at the little girl she is mentoring.

"We walk the dog, we've taken short trips, we go to the movies, we play cards ... I think it gives Sabrina somebody to talk to in confidentiality when maybe there's not someone else she is comfortable talking to ... oh! and we shop. We shop 'til we drop."

The kick-off luncheon for the golf raffle fund-raiser was held last Saturday at the Chaparral Pines Clubhouse. Bigs, littles and members of the board feasted on hamburgers.

"It's a great cause so we decided, yes, we wanted to do this," said Michael Maker, the vice president of club operations at Chaparral Pines.

Chaparral came up with the idea for the grand prize and put together grab bags for the children at the luncheon.

The details are still being worked out, but all of the money raised from the raffle is going to support the new school-based programs. The organization is now recruiting bigs for these programs.

In one program, high school students will mentor middle school students, while at Julia Randall Elementary School, individuals will mentor students.

"We service 20 matches right now in the community-based program. We are hoping to grow like Show Low has grown; they have 100 matches," said board president Cindy Kofil. "The high school mentoring program is a great success up there. They will spend 45 minutes to an hour with the kids doing homework or just talking to them. The program at JRE will give older adults the opportunity to get involved, meet with the child, say, once a week."

The magic of the JRE program, which starts in August of 2005, is that it could be great for any adult who wants to make a difference in the life of a child, but perhaps does not have the time or the resources to become a big brother or big sister in the community based program.

"There are so many kids out there who need someone else in their life," Kofil said.

To become a big, purchase a raffle ticket or sign your child up for the Big Brother Big Sister program in central Arizona call (928) 468-8375 or go online at http//:bigmagic.inpayson.com.

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