BBBS honors its mentors during National Mentoring Month

Published 11:14 am Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Big Brother Craig Williams helps his Little Brother Kesley assemble the pitching target Williams gave him for Christmas. (photo by Kesley’s mother)

January marks National Mentoring Month, and Polk County’s Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) is honoring its mentors who have started a meaningful mentoring friendship with a Little Brother or Little Sister.
BBBS officials said there are many local success stories from the program. For example, one local Big Sister, Sharon Kolbye, noticed that her Little Sister’s home could use some sprucing up. Sharon’s co-workers at Spartanburg Regional Hospital always give each other presents for birthdays, so when her turn arrived this fall, BS asked for a Lowe’s gift card for home improvement supplies. Sharon’s neighbor insisted on contributing paint for the project. Church and community volunteers, along with other Bigs, all pitched in to help.


Little Sister Lydia enjoys petting a cat at the Foothills Humane Society. (photo by her Big Sister, Jana Hinely)

They not only painted and refurnished the living room, as originally planned, but also painted and replaced flooring in the kitchen, remodeled the bathroom and painted the hall, just in time for Christmas. To top it off, an executive at Sharon’s workplace donated a brand-new refrigerator for the family.
Other examples of local BBBS activities include:
• A Big Sister is taking her Little Sister to high school to ensure that she gets back into the groove following a prolonged absence. After school they head to the library to study.
• A Big Couple took their Little Brother to the aquarium in Atlanta during the Christmas holidays to reward him for consecutive straight A report cards.
• Two Big Sisters got their shy Little Sisters started in piano lessons, leading to the girls’ participation in recital performances. They all plan to attend a Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra concert this month.
• Two Bigs, husband and wife, took their Littles to swim lessons at Gibson Park pool last summer, have taken them to several Flat Rock Playhouse performances and never miss the downtown Halloween stroll.
• A horse-crazy Little Sister was matched with a Big Sister who takes LS riding as often as possible, fulfilling a girl’s dream. They consistently ranked well in this fall’s Western Carolina Hunter Pace series.
• A Big Sister and Little Sister were matched because of their mutual love of animals. They enjoy visiting and petting animals at the local shelter.
• A Big Brother helped his Little Brother assemble Christmas gifts. Mom said it would have taken her a week to figure them out.
“This month in particular we thank our mentor volunteers for sharing their time, talents, passions, and experiences with young people,” BBBS officials said. “Research shows that the time they give to friendship with their Little makes a strong positive difference in the young person’s school success, self-esteem, and avoidance of risky and delinquent behaviors.”
BBBS of Western North Carolina has been providing mentors to youth since 1982. The Polk branch opened in January of 2003 to match children in schools and communities throughout Polk County and the Landrum area.
For more information on how you can help as a mentor, donor or board or advisory council member, visit, email, or call 828-859-9230.
– article submitted by Karen Dacey

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