MANATEE COUNTY —Sharon Barhost reached into her day planner and pulled out a photograph she looks at every day — a picture of herself and a boy named Kelby, whom she mentors through the Big Brothers Big Sisters program.
“He makes me smile,” she said.
The mentoring program has made a huge difference in the child’s life and Barhost’s, too, but she hopes it can impact many more youth.
This weekend, East County residents can ride for that cause during the Bicycle Poker Ride. The event, organized by Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sun Coast and Lakewood Ranch Community Activities, will start at 9 a.m., Oct. 3, at Lakewood Ranch Medical Center. Registration will last from 7:30-9 a.m. Cost is $25 per rider or $40 for a family of two adults and up to five children.
To accommodate all skill levels, the ride is broken into three categories: expert, experienced and family. The expert mile is 40 miles long, while the experienced ride is 30. The family ride has options for a 10- or 16-mile route.
Bicyclists will stop at six local businesses, picking up a playing card at each, and use the cards collected to form the best poker hand possible.
At the end of the ride, the adult with the best hand will win a one-hour sightseeing flight over the Sarasota/Bradenton area for up to seven people, courtesy of Dolphin Aviation. The child winner will get a gift certificate to Toys “R” Us. Additionally, each participant will be entered into a raffle give away, which will offer prizes such as gift cards to restaurants and a day at the salon.
In addition to raising money for Big Brothers Big Sisters, organizers also hope the event will create awareness for the organization and recruit volunteers to mentor children.
Barhorst said the organization has been getting numerous requests for services in the East County recently and is preparing to start a mentoring program called “Decisions to Win” at Lakewood Ranch High School.
“It’s a win, win,” Barhorst said of the ride. “It couldn’t be better timing (for the ride).”
The bicycle poker ride is part of the Embrace a Life of Health & Wellness Expo, which is being hosted by Lakewood Ranch Community Activities from 9 a.m. to noon, Oct. 3 in the lobby and front entrance of Lakewood Ranch Medical Center.
More than 40 professional medical and wellness exhibitors will be on site, offering free eye, mouth and skin screenings and providing educational information.
Activities will include a Kids’ Zone with tae kwon do and gymnastics demonstrations and an 18-hole putt putt golf course, among others.
For more information, contact Big Brothers Big Sisters at 746-7000 or Lakewood Ranch Community Activities at 907-0202, Ext. 224.
Contact Pam McTeer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bicycle Poker Ride
WHEN: 9 a.m., Oct. 3
WHERE: Outpatient side of Lakewood Ranch Medical Center, 8330 Lakewood Ranch Blvd.
REGISTRATION: Starts at 7:30 a.m. Please RSVP to 746-7000 or email@example.com if possible.
COST: $25 per individual or $40 for a family of two adults and up to five children
BENEFICIARY: One-to-one mentoring programs in East County by Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sun Coast
WEB SITE: www.bbbssun.org
Embrace a Life of Health & Wellness
WHEN: 9 a.m. to noon, Oct. 3
WHERE: Lakewood Ranch Medical Center, 8330 Lakewood Ranch Blvd.
WHAT: The expo will last from 9 a.m. to noon and will include 40 professional medical and wellness exhibitors who will be on site, offering free eye, mouth and skin screenings and providing educational information. Florida Blood Services will be taking blood donations and a farmers market will be offering fresh produce. A Kids’ Zone will be available for children.
INFORMATION: Lori Basilone at 907-0202, Ext. 224