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Making a Difference | Going 'Over the Edge' for kids

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It's referred to as "urban climbing", "skywalking" and well, "crazy" by some of us, but rappelling city buildings is very popular and is catching on as a fundraising tool.

Big Brothers, Big Sisters of the Capital Region is one of those non-profits doing just that.

And, as I found out when I caught up with a "little brother" and his mentor -- climbing a building may seem crazy, but it's making a difference.

Shooting hoops is what you will find Jon Freeman and his "little brother" Jae'Quan Bellamy doing often when they hang out.

Jon has been mentoring Jae'Quan for the last two years as part of Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Capital Region.

He says Jae'Quan can now beat him at basketball.

But, they won't stop playing or doing all the other activities they do at least twice a month.

Jon says, "This weekend we're going to go catfishing on the Susquehanna, we're going to Field of Screams in a couple of weeks, what else, we've actually volunteered at the soup kitchen together."

Jae'Quan says,"Fishing, we go kayaking a lot. We go hiking, we play football and stuff, we do a lot of things."

Jon emphasizes that it's not necessarily what you do -- it's just showing up -- and Jae'Quan agrees: "To have a big brother like Jon is to have a man in my life to talk to and do stuff with."

If Jae'Quan didn't have a "Big Brother" - instead he says he would be sitting around inside on electronics.

Most likely the case for many of the "littles" in the program.

Krystina Shultz is the Marketing & Events Manager for Big Brothers, Big Sisters of the Capital Region.

"A lot of our kids go through a wide variety of issues. We've had kids that have experienced a death in the family, we've had some very traumatic issues that these kids are experiencing." Shultz said.

And the mentoring program is not only helping those kids cope through trauma, but also providing the tools they need to be successful.

"In 2017, at least 80% of our kids were already intending to go to college, so even just having a person there to say you can do this, makes a huge difference," explained Shultz.

A fundraiser happening in three weeks will help keep the mentoring program around for these children.

Participants in "Over The Edge" will scale the Market Square Plaza building to raise money and awareness, so there will continue to be "bigs," like Jon, for any child who needs a mentor.

And Jon says he gets a fun addition to his family: "I have a wife and two beautiful daughters and they are interested in absolutely nothing that I want to do, so what I really wanted was a little buddy to hang out with and do guy stuff."

“Over The Edge” is Friday, October 19. Participants will rappel down the Market Square Plaza building at 17 N 2nd St, Harrisburg.

You need to raise $1,000 to participate.

You could also win a rappel spot at "Over the Edge" by making a $20 donation and you will be entered in a drawing for a rappel spot on October 19th.

CLICK HERE for additional details and to enter or go to the home page of CAPBIGS.ORG.

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