Event gives at-risk children some lake time

by Jackson Sveen


CORNELIUS – About 150 children from Big Brothers Big Sisters will get the chance to hang out on the lake and enjoy a picnic with their adult mentors July 20 during Big Day at the Lake on Lake Norman.

This year the event will also make its way to Mountain Island Lake.

This won’t happen without help from the community.

Big Day at the Lake needs help from residents beyond raising money. The event works only if organizers can recruit 120 volunteers to take out children and mentors on their boats.

Cornelius resident Dave Yochum started Big Day at the Lake to serve children that wouldn’t typically have the opportunity to get out on the lake. Yochum said the event has three goals: Provide a fun day for kids, recruit mentors for the program and raise money for a really cool organization – Big Brothers Big Sisters.

In nine years, Big Day at the Lake team has raised more than $500,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters and served thousands of children.

It costs roughly $1,000 a year to support each mentor of an at-risk child. Big Brothers Big Sisters serves 250 children in northern Mecklenburg County.

Big Day at the Lake raised $5,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters through a celebrity bartender fundraiser held June 13 at Alton’s Kitchen and Cocktails in Cornelius.

WCNC meteorologist John Wendel was the biggest celebrity fundraiser of the night, netting $700 in tips for Big Brothers Big Sisters. Other bartenders included Mecklenburg County Commissioner Karen Bentley, Speaker of the House Thom Tillis and N.C. Sen. Jeff Tarte.

“Big Day at the Lake is important first because its purpose is to support (Big Brothers Big Sisters), which is responsible for changing the lives of ‘Bigs’ and ‘Littles’ by providing adult role models for at-risk kids,” Tarte said. “Second, Big Day brings our community together which results in bringing out the very best in people by caring for kids who need to know they are loved and cared about by many others.”

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