Such great heights

Big Brothers Big Sisters go ‘Over the Edge’ for area kids

By Andy Hertel

Most everyone is willing to do a bit of fundraising or volunteer work if asked, whether it be at work, at church, or with the local Little League team. It’s a great feeling to help out in the community, but let’s be honest — knocking on doors or making phone calls isn’t always the most exciting thing in the world. But what if it led to the chance to dangle over the edge of a downtown skyscraper and rappel 347 feet and 27 stories back to the ground?

Participants in Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Miami Valley’s Over the Edge event Aug. 5 will have the opportunity to do just that at KeyBank Tower in Dayton — but only the first 90 who raise $1,000 or more will earn the chance. Entering its sixth year, this event seeks to raise money and awareness for current and future BBBS activities.

In 2015, Over the Edge garnered more than $140,000, and BBBS mentored nearly 600 area children throughout the year. For 2016, the goal is $154,000.

“Over the Edge brings the whole community together in support of a positive future for our kids,” says BBBS’ new CEO, Anne Pfeiffer. “Every dollar raised through Over the Edge directly funds our mentoring programs in the Greater Miami Valley and helps to maintain and sustain our mentoring relationships, increasing kids’ chances for success.”

In addition to a new CEO, the past year has been one of transition for BBBS according to Director of Development Mercedes Dossa. “We are now located in downtown Dayton,” she explains. “Moving into our own building was a big deal for us. It allows us to be part of the growth and development of downtown Dayton. Our new location allows us to better serve Dayton and gain more visibility throughout the city.” Indeed, it’s been a year of transition for Dossa herself, as well. “I’ve just recently moved to Dayton and this will be my first Over the Edge, but I’ve been working with BBBS for over a decade,” she says.

After winning “Agency of the Year” from the national BBBS organization, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Miami Valley hopes to build upon the momentum that saw a more than 100 percent revenue growth and an increase in children served of more than 40 percent over the past five years, according to a national press release. Thus far in 2016, the organization is on track to match their 2015 tally of mentoring 600 area kids, but 104 more are waitlisted, 90 of whom are boys.

“By supporting events like Over the Edge with your money or time, you will help put children throughout the greater Miami Valley, like Little Sister Bekka, on the right path,” Dossa says. In addition to previously rappelling as a participant in Over the Edge, Bekka has recently graduated high school, enrolled at Wright State University, and celebrated 10 years of friendship with her Big Sister, Lori Pedroncelli.

This year’s Over the Edge participants will once again be in safe hands, and no experience is necessary, as the eponymous host organization will have professionals on-site to guide each person’s rappel. Additionally, detailed training sessions will be held beforehand. According to its website, Over the Edge is a special events company that provides signature events for nonprofit organizations throughout the United States and Canada that, to date, has helped raise approximately $33 million. “We get to work with so many great organizations every day,” says Chad Wicks, Over the Edge’s director of client experience. “Our event impacts so many communities and organizations’ specific missions, it makes it easy to go to work each day.”

But what about those faint of heart individuals who need a bit of encouragement before stepping off the side of a 27-story building? “The rappel is easy if you think about the purpose of the event,” Wicks explains. “Most NPOs [nonprofit organizations] have great causes and have individuals who are impacted in all types of ways that are being assisted in some manner by these NPOs. Think about what they are going through, and all of a sudden, rappelling off of a building is not so bad.”

Rappelling for Over the Edge will begin at 10 a.m. and conclude at 6 p.m. Aug. 5 at KeyBank Tower, 10 W. Second St. Tickets are available for a (ground-based) VIP Drop Party from 5-9 p.m. at Courthouse Square the day of the event at bbbsgmv.org/dropparty. For more information on the event or other Big Broths Big Sisters volunteer opportunities, please contact Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Miami Valley at 937.220.6850 or visit bbbsgmv.org. 

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