Big Brothers Big Sisters holds fall mentor recruitment drive

Published 6:08 pm Thursday, August 9, 2012

Big Brothers Big Sisters is holding a Back-to-School Mentor Recruitment Drive beginning this month. The organization said it hopes to recruit new volunteers to help students who need extra attention in school. Interested persons age 18 and older are invited to contact BBBS to learn about volunteer opportunities.
The volunteer recruitment drive helps the organization meet the needs of youth who can benefit from a one-on-one role model. Volunteers are needed to share one hour a week with an elementary age student in the school-based and after-school programs. Volunteers can choose to mentor in one of five elementary schools Polk County and Landrum.
Volunteers are also needed for the community-based program that focuses on matching youth from single parent homes with caring adult mentors. The adult and youth share two outings a month. They engage in mutual interests, such as sports, cooking, attending cultural events, etc. Bigs (mentors) can enjoy free activities with their Littles, such as shooting hoops at the park, or they can take advantage of our great community discounts.
Students are not enrolled in the mentors and matches school-based program until a mentor is trained and ready to serve at their school. Youth in the community-based program may wait up to a year for a Big after their parent or guardian has requested a mentor for them.
In the school and after-school mentoring programs, volunteers share one hour a week with a student. Teachers in the school-mentoring program determine when the child is out of class for an hour. The mentor spends part of the hour reinforcing academics with the student through reading, class assignments or working on vocabulary words or multiplication facts. The mentor and child spend the rest of the hour enjoying a variety of activities, including art and board games, to build the youth’s self-confidence and social skills.
John Smith volunteers as a mentor at Bell Elementary School in Asheville, N.C. through the Family to Family effort at Groce United Methodist Church.  Groce UMC and other churches in the East Asheville area have partnered with Big Brothers Big Sisters to provide mentors for students at two local elementary schools.
Smith said he enjoys his hour each week mentoring.
“The hour a week I spend with my Little Brother at school is something I look forward to each week,” Smith said. “I am retired but I also managed to work in the time with him even when I was working full time. I was hesitant at first to make the commitment of time and effort, but I am so glad that I did. The relationship I have with him is so very special to me and I hope to him as well.”
Organizers say the impact of having a caring adult in a child’s life can be dramatic. Local school counselors reported in June that 87 percent of the students who had a Big Brother or Big Sister last year improved in self-confidence, 88 percent improved in academic performance, 92 percent improved in classroom behavior and 100 percent improved in relationships with adults.
To volunteer as a mentor, call 828-859-9230 or email Visit for information about the organization and volunteer opportunities.
– article submitted
by Karen Dacey

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