Big Brother Big Sisters night out

Published 10:00 pm Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) recently held their annual “Bigs’ Night Out” to celebrate and honor their volunteers and friends. “Bigs,” guests and BBBS staff met for a social gathering at Huckleberry’s in Tryon.

BBBS mentoring programs are volunteer-driven and locally supported. The donors, including generous gifts from individuals, churches, civic clubs, business sponsors and the Polk County Community Foundation, provide the basis. The volunteers share their time, resources and energy for the programs to actually work. The volunteers’ commitment and devotion to their assigned Little is what drives the success of our local BBBS services.

BBBS has two mentoring programs for area children. The traditional community-based plan pairs screened and trained volunteers with children ages 6-14 from single-parent or other nontraditional family homes.The “Bigs” and “Littles” then develop their friendship while enjoying outings in the community such as going to the park, hiking, biking, movies, cooking or other interests they would like to share together.

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The school-based program serves elementary to middle school level children who need a little extra attention at school. Beginning with a match in elementary school, mentors, ages 16 and up, meet with their “Little” on-site for an hour a week during the school day or after school program. Their focus is on supporting the student with schoolwork, improving social skills, and enrichment activities such as games, crafts and projects that enhance the child’s development.

While also rewarding mentors with a positive connection with a child, these relationships provide “Littles” with additional support towards growth and achievement. Proven results note increased self-confidence, improved school performance, better relationships with others, and fewer risky behaviors. When encouraged and inspired, children often dream bigger, leading to a better opportunity to contribute to life in a more positive way.

Enrollment is currently open for children and volunteers with BBBS. Some “Big Sisters” are already waiting for “Little Sisters” who need an adult friend, and new school mentors will be welcome in late summer to be prepared for the next school year.   

BBBS is very grateful for all who give so selflessly so that children enrolled have the opportunity to expand their potential to new levels.

– article submitted by Karen Dacey