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Cornelius News

Big Day at the Lake launches with a record-setting splash

N.C. Rep Jeff Tarte along with Jim Engel, plus hosts Ericka and Bill Cain

The 13th year of Big Day at the Lake got under way in early February with a kickoff party that included remarks from NC Sen. Jeff Tarte, NC Rep. Chaz Beasley and a “Big Brother” and his “Little Brother” who shared the positive impact their mentoring experience had on their lives.

Corporations and individuals stepped up to help at-risk children in Big Brothers Big Sisters in a generous way—more than $65,000 came in on the first official night of fundraising at a private home in Cornelius Feb. 9.

“We were delighted to host a fundraiser for Big Day at the Lake.  Big Brothers Big Sisters gives at-risk children their love as well as their time. A day at the lake is the perfect fun day for all to enjoy. It is the least we can do.”

—Ericka Cain

Ericka and Bill Cain hosted the Big Day
at the Lake kickoff at their home in Cornelius

Big Day at the Lake, which consists entirely of volunteers in and around Lake Norman, has three goals: Provide an unforgettable day of fun on the lake for children who would not otherwise experience Lake Norman or Mountain Island Lake, recruit “Bigs” or mentors for at-risk children in BBBS, and raise money for a proven non-profit that focuses on at-risk children.

Thanks to donations that were pledged or received Feb. 9, Big Day at the Lake is well on the way toward its goal of a $100,000 cash contribution to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Charlotte.

​Jim Engel, CEO of Aquesta Financial, increased the bank’s support to the Admiral level—$5,000.

He said ​​t​he Lake Norman community through Big Day at the Lake is in a unique position to share positive life experiences of boating, swimming​ ​and a group cookout with hundreds of disadvantaged youths.

​“​Many of these children have never been in a boat or even seen the lake.  The success stories behind Big Brothers and Big Sisters are truly inspiring, including ​s​tate ​s​enators and a new member of the Masons. But, just as inspiring is seeing the smiles of children taking their first inner tube ride or riding in the bow of a speedboat.  Aquesta Bank is proud of the opportunity to do our small part in supporting such a great cause​,” he said​

The Presenting Sponsors: PayPal, the worldwide online payments system, and Champion Tire & Wheel, a Cornelius-based company that provides logistics services for motorsports teams.

“Big Day at the Lake brings together people of different ages, different diversities and different means. Big Day sets the example that everyone deserves an opportunity no matter the circumstance.”

—NC Rep. John Bradford
Cornelius resident, supporter
and Boat Host

“We have always subscribed to the idea that every kid deserves a chance.  Big Brothers Big Sisters with the help of Big Day at the Lake lay some foundation for kids to gain a brand new perspective on the world.  Who knows where that might take them.   After hearing some of the stories, it seems like Big Day at the Lake provides a lot of perspective to more than just the kids as well,” said Kevin Mahl, co-owner of Champion Tire.

Big Day at the Lake this year is July 22. More than 200 at-risk children were hosted by more than 175 Boat Hosts last year, the 12th straight year that Duke Energy has hosted the picnic that follows for 600 participants.

Big Day at the Lake’s fundraising team is chaired by Della Stafford. The kick-off co-chairs were Laura Engel, Heidi Hansen and Tracy Yochum.

Thanks to businesses and individuals, Big Day at the Lake is responsible for raising well over $850,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters during the past dozen years. Big Brothers Big Sisters serves some 250 children in North Mecklenburg.

In-kind contributions, ranging from restaurants—Alton’s, Big Bite’z, Brewster’s, Brixx, Mama’s Pizza Express, Port City Club and Tenders—to printing, courtesy of AlphaGraphics, has kept Big Day at the Lake overhead at an absolute minimum over the years.

For many of the children in Big Brothers Big Sisters, Big Day at the Lake is the highlight of their year. The event brings people together who would not otherwise come together.

In fact, “Come Together” was the theme of the kick-off event. Rusty Knox, a Davidson singer and Realtor, sang the Beatles hit moments before Sen. Tarte spoke about the value of people coming together to make for a more productive and peaceful society.

The next fundraising event is the Beach Bash Thursday April 27 at Port City Club from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. The co-chairs are Scarlett Hays and Liz Marlow. If you would like to donate an item for the silent auction at this event, please call Liz Marlow at 704-560-7534 or ​Scarlett Hays at ​404-398-9954.