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BBBS/PCCF: Sharing the Christmas spirit

All members of BBBS of Polk County celebrated the holiday at Big Couple Ernie Giannini and Lynne Parsons’ Morning Glory Farm in Mill Spring. (photo submitted)

A Seasonal Assistance Grant was recently awarded to Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) from the Polk County Community Foundation (PCCF). These funds supported the organization’s holiday party for Littles and Bigs, but were primarily the source for BiLo grocery gift cards presented to the family of each child matched in the Big Brothers Big Sisters programs. Most Littles are from family situations that will greatly benefit from this food assistance grant while children are home for the holidays.
The Polk County Community Foundation awards Seasonal Assistance Grants to local nonprofits to help make the holidays brighter for individuals and families who may need assistance. This is the third year that the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization has benefited from these special funds which improve the quality of life for recipients in our community.
With support from this generous grant, Big Brothers Big Sisters celebrated the Christmas holidays with Littles and volunteer Bigs at the lakeside pavilion of Big Couple Ernie Giannini and Lynne Parsons’ Morning Glory Farm.
Guests enjoyed seasonal refreshments, then Bigs and Littles created gifts together with a crafts project. The highlight of the afternoon was a bonfire, presenting the favorite fireside opportunity to roast marshmallows and enjoy s’mores. The group closed the afternoon singing Christmas carols, accompanied by Big Brother Randy Young on guitar.
While the foundation grant provided gifts for all of the Littles in BBBS program, an anonymous donation supplied gifts for volunteers attending the party, so gifts were distributed to all.
Big Brothers Big Sisters’ mentoring programs serve children facing adversity in Polk County and the Landrum area. Most of the children in the BBBS community-based program are from single-parent homes. Some live with a grandparent or other relatives, some have lost a parent, or a parent is in prison, and very few live in homes with a traditional family.
In this program, children ages 6-14 are matched with screened and trained adult volunteers to enjoy outings in the community while developing trusting friendships. A mentoring program also exists to assist elementary school students who need extra attention at school.
According to BBBS officials, the results of both BBBS mentoring programs are significant. Youth matched with an adult mentor have better relationships with others, improved school performance and are less likely to engage in risky behavior, they said.
“A popular bumper sticker optimistically states: Everyone does better when everyone does better,” said Karen Dacey of BBBS. “For the sake of mankind and our society, it’s important to participate in the improvement of more than just ourselves, to make a difference for others in our own community.  Now’s your chance!”
Those unable to volunteer as a Big could consider helping financially. BBBS depends solely on the generosity of the community for support. Donations are tax-deductible. For more information, call 828-859-9230 or mail to BBBS, 301 N. Trade St, Tryon, N.C. 28782.
– article submitted by Karen Dacey