The upcoming Ultimate Escape event, originally scheduled for January 22nd, has been postponed until March. It is hosted by Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Grande Prairie area and directly impacts the local non-profit organization. Executive Director Corinne Patterson says that anyone attending the fundraiser will support the local group as well.

“We offer two main programs. The first program is the community program and that’s where a member of the community steps up and volunteers with us. We have a number of different agencies that would refer a child and we always have a waitlist. Most of them are boys because we have a really hard time finding mentors in Grande Prairie.”

Last year, Big Brothers Big Sisters had to cancel the fundraiser, which meant the loss of about $100,000.  In 2020, the local non-profit raised over 30 per cent of their budget via the annual event.

“Our in-school mentoring program serves more than 180 children and due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we were unable to move forward with that last year because we couldn’t get in the schools,” she explains. “We’re looking to hire somebody back for that position and the fundraiser will help us with that.”

The local group puts a lot of effort into finding the right fit and trying to create meaningful relationships between mentors and kids.

“We match people with our kids based on their personality, likes, and dislikes. It’s not a first come first serve type thing and we want to make sure it’s a long-lasting, stable relationship,” she says.

Patterson adds that they are also looking for volunteers to sell tickets, help with decorating, set up, as well as take down everything afterward.

The Ultimate Escape is at 6 p.m. on March 19th at the Pomeroy Hotel, with the theme of 80’s Prom Night. All proceeds will support the agency and its programs.

The Pomeroy Hotel participates in the Restrictions Exemption Program. Anyone attending is required to show proof of vaccination or proof of a negative COVID-19 test.