Publisher’s Notebook: BBBS’ Thanksgiving wishes

Published 10:50 pm Sunday, November 24, 2013

We are blessed to have so many people in our community willing to lend a hand to help our neighbors.

Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) is one of my favorites. When young people need someone in their life to be a willing ear to listen and a guiding hand through life, Big Brothers and Big Sisters are there.

We asked Karen Dacey, program coordinator, what were her organization’s wishes for this holiday season. Here are Big Brothers Big Sisters Thanksgiving wishes.

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Volunteers & donations
As with most nonprofits, Big Brothers Big Sisters has a symbiotic relationship with the community.

Local donors provide support through financial contributions and/or volunteering time. In return BBBS is able to provide youth mentoring services to benefit children, families, schools, and, ultimately, our communities in Polk County and Landrum.

At this time of year, while considering all the things for which we are grateful, it’s particularly important to Big Brothers Big Sisters that those who contribute to the success of their mentoring programs are honored.

Being a volunteer-driven organization, with only one paid staff member, BBBS has a tremendous level of service generated by a cadre of local citizens. Although every single donor and volunteer is significant, not all can be individually recognized here by name.  BBBS wants you to know that you are appreciated for stepping up to serve children in the community.

Most of the BBBS volunteers serve as Big Brothers or Big Sisters in the traditional community-based program that pairs each volunteer with a child ages 6-14, often from single-parent or non-traditional families, such as living with grandparent(s). Once matched, the volunteer Big and Little spend time twice a month on outings that both enjoy.

As long as they are successful these matches may continue through the child’s high school graduation. Currently BBBS has a waiting list of girls who need Big Sisters, so volunteers are needed at this time to match with these enrolled Little Sisters.

In the school-based Mentors & Matches program, volunteers are paired with a student who needs extra attention in a local elementary school. Area schools have need for more mentors to assist students who may have academic challenges or need guidance in developing social skills. Those interested in mentoring an hour each week at school are requested to contact BBBS for more information.

Other volunteers serve on the branch advisory council or the regional board of directors, or in a peripheral capacity to help at fundraising events.

There will be openings on the BBBS council in January, and anyone who may like to join is asked to contact the BBBS office at 828-859-9230.

Big Brothers Big Sisters is currently campaigning to meet their annual budget. Gifts of $5 and up are encouraged. All funds raised go to support the local branch operations and will be acknowledged with a tax receipt.

Donations of $100 or more received by Dec. 5 will be matched by an anonymous donor to the BBBS Endowment Fund at the Polk County Community Foundation. Contributions may be sent to BBBS, 301 N Trade St, Tryon, NC 28782.

BBBS wishes a Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!