How can you celebrate National Mentoring Month? By becoming a Big with Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Central Ohio.
The vision at Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Central Ohio is that all youth achieve their full potential. This goal is supported through the agency’s mentors, those who volunteer their time to help the children in their community.
At the Big Brothers Big Sisters agency, a mentor is someone who believes in the power and promise of youth. Mentors are there to provide guidance, wisdom, encouragement, and support to assist mentees in accomplishing their goals. When asked about mentorship, Big Sister, Malarie, said, “Mentoring to me is being the change in a child’s life. Loving them and encouraging them to grow through life. It’s about being who I needed when I was younger.”
The agency programs only require four hours a month from volunteers. The time commitment is not large but it makes a world of difference to the children served by the program.
Bigs and Littles develop relationships through sharing in activities that they both enjoy and bonding over common interests. In small ways, Bigs empower Littles. A mentor can encourage a Little to become healthier and more active by inviting that child for a hike or to the gym for a workout session. If a Little is struggling academically, the mentor can plan an outing that is an educational experience, such as visiting a museum or library. A Big can encourage a Little’s interests through attending a game of a favorite sports team. This is what mentorship is all about.
Big Sister, Bailey, and Little Sister, Sarah, have been matched for 3 years. Their favorite activities include getting ice cream and visiting different coffee shops where they enjoy sitting together and talking about life. When asked what her Big means to her, Sarah said,
“She’s someone who I feel comfortable talking to about things I can’t share with others. She listens and always gives very useful advice. We are always so excited to get to see each other because we have so much to catch up on, like how college is going for her and how things with my friends are going. We have such as good time when we’re together.”
By through spending quality time with a positive, caring mentor, children show improvements in many areas. Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Central Ohio reports that they see consistent growth in areas of self-confidence, school connectedness, academic performance, relationships with important adults, motivation, and avoidance of risky behaviors.
One of the agency’s Big Sisters, Heidi, was asked what the program means to her. She had this to say –
“To me, being a part of BBBS means being a part of a child’s life in this really awesome way where I get to watch him learn and grow each time we have an outing. The BBBS mentoring program has allowed me to not only connect with an incredible young man and share life experiences with him, but also get to know his family and have a great new connection in our community.”
The staff at Big Brothers Big Sisters challenge YOU to take this month of January to celebrate mentorship. They encourage you to become a mentor or find another way to celebrate these important dates –
- I Am A Mentor Day – January 7th
- International Mentoring Day – January 17th
- MLK Jr. Day of Service – January 18th
- Thank a Mentor Day – January 29th
There are currently 32 children on the waiting list at Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Central Ohio. All of these children have potential and are in need of a Big who can ignite it.
The Big Brothers Big Sisters’ staff is ready to walk you through the process and support you through your enrollment and match relationship. You can apply to be a Big through calling the office at (330)339-6916 or applying online at http://www.bigs4kids.com.