Agency's fundraiser is just ducky

Vincent Ball

By Vincent Ball, Brantford Expositor

A large crowd gathered on a footbridge over the Nith River at Paris Lion’s Park on Saturday to cheer on some floating fowl.
The Big Duck race fundraiser was a spectacle that invited a lot of cheering, photographs and cracking wise.
“Hey, I want that duck checked for performance enhancing substances,” one fan shouted as a bright yellow rubber duck easily swam from the flotilla to earn first place.
“What happens if my duck hits a rock,” another fan asked loudly.
“It’s a stuck duck and you’re out of luck,” replied another.
A fundraising event for Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Grand Erie, the duck race brought a crowd to the park for an afternoon of family-oriented activities.
More than 1,000 ducks were set in the water with prizes awarded to the first two birds crossing the finish line and the last duck to finish the race.
Adding to the fun, Myles Rusak, executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Grand Erie, dressed up as a pirate – Captain Hood – and the release of the ducks was handled by Capt. Jack Sparrow and his band of pirates. Rusak has joined The Pirates, a group dedicated to raising funds for charities.
The group has raised more than $200,000 for four charities in recent years.
“We’re thinking that we’ll raise about $15,000 today and, of course, raising money for our programs is important,” Rusak. “But today is also giving back to the community.
“We want people to have some fun and maybe learn a little bit more about what we do.”
People wearing bright purple shirts could be found throughout the park organizing games and activities for children and families.
The agency provides a range of services, including traditional one-on-one big and little matches, as well as in-school mentoring and group mentoring programs. Its head office is at Wincey Mills, 31 Mechanic St. Paris.
The goal of the agency is to help girls and boys reach their full potential through mentoring and friendship.
“We do a lot of events throughout the year.” Rusak said. “We have Curl For Kids, Bowl For Kids, Golf For Kids, and Bike Night in Paris, as well as the Big Duck race.
“But those events are for particular programs and what we really need is core funding to support the work we do.”
The agency has professional staff who work hard to make sure matches are appropriate and safe, Rusak said.
“The work our staff do is extremely important. “It’s essential to the work we do in helping kids reach their potential.”
The agency provides services to 400 children across Grand Erie through its menu of programs. But there are 175 kids on a waiting list, Rusak said.
To learn more about Big Brothers Big Sisters of Grand Erie visit