Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Virginia presented an award to the members of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity at University of Lynchburg on Tuesday.
Big Brothers Big Sisters, an organization that pairs young people with mentors and role models, is the philanthropic and service-learning partner of the national Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity. But the University of Lynchburg chapter had never been in touch with the local nonprofit until this year.
“We recently had a huge influx of people coming into our fraternity, and we decided to take those people coming into the fraternity and give back to the community,” said Zack Canova ’18, the fraternity chapter’s vice president of communications.
First, the fraternity brothers joined the Big Brothers Big Sisters Bowl For Kids’ Sake bowl-a-thon, a fundraising event and bowling activity. They out-raised every other educational institution in the region, bringing in $1,000.
Next, they invited a group of children involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters to spend a day on the University of Lynchburg ropes course, with the help of the Outdoor Leadership Program. Seeing the enthusiastic children radiate with excitement touched Josh Rempfer ’19, the fraternity’s philanthropic coordinator.
“It was the best thing I could have done for the fraternity, and for myself,” said Josh.
Ash Gorman, executive director of the local Big Brothers Big Sisters organization, and Dawn Blankinship, special events and marketing coordinator, presented the bowling pin-shaped trophy to the fraternity members on Tuesday. Dr. Kenneth R. Garren, president of University of Lynchburg, and Nathaniel Marshall ’83, vice-chair of the Board of Trustees and a former Big Brothers Big Sisters board member, also attended.
Blankinship said the fraternity members are providing a positive influence for children who lack male role models. The influence of college students can help them set higher aspirations for themselves. “They realize that maybe some of their dreams can come true,” Blankenship said.