Big Brothers Big Sisters took fundraising to new heights with a rappelling fundraiser Saturday called Over the Edge.
Eighty-four people rappelled down the 20 stories tall Enterprise Tower. The event originally had 76 slots for people to register and each person had to raise at least $1,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters.
“Well we didn’t have 76 people raise $1,000, so Over the Edge’s recommendation was that we were gonna be there, the ropes are gonna be there, we are gonna stay out there all day, so you might as well get people to rappel,” said Mark Rogers, BBBS Abilene market president. “Now that sets up for next year. That’s 84 people that are now going to be going out and talking about what an incredible deal this was.”
People had to be 18 years of age and between 110 and 300 lbs. to rappel. No prior experience or training was needed.
“The Over the Edge people we on it, they are all like mountain climber dudes,” Rogers said. “They are just amazing, the procedures that they put in place for safety, I never once felt that anyone was at any risk at all.”
Kholo Theledi, Master of Communication graduate student, helped on the ground by holding the bottom of the rappelling ropes. She said she participated as a way to give back to the Abilene community.
BBBS focuses on one-on-one mentoring between adults and children. Rogers said Over the Edge will raise about $55,000 total, which will help 550 children receive mentoring, but he said he wants that number to grow to 2500. It costs $1200 to support one match for one year.
“It costs the Texas taxpayer $150,000 per year per kid in the juvenile delinquency system, so it is crazy how much cheaper prevention is and how much more that can increase someone’s life in the long run,” Rogers said.
Chelsea Johnson, a May 2016 graduate who works for BBBS, rappelled with mother at the end of the day. Her father, Larry Johnson, drove from Oklahoma to watch his daughter rappel.
“Floating down the San Marcos River is as adventurous as she’s got so far,” Johnson said. “I think she kind of liked the idea of rappelling off a building. I told her there’s a perfectly working elevator inside. But I’m glad she’s doing it. You can only write your story once and this is a good chapter for her.”
Other participants included Cooper football coach Todd Moebes and Bennie Wylie, successful strength coach from NBC’s show “Strong.”