BBBS announces PCCF grant

Published 5:24 pm Thursday, August 3, 2017

Big Brothers Big Sisters is pleased to announce a significant grant from the Unrestricted Funds at the Polk County Community Foundation. The funds awarded will support the organization’s mentoring programs for area children.

The Polk County Community Foundation has a long history of supplementing the Big Brothers Big Sisters mission, providing generous sums over the years for the growth and sustainment of one-to-one mentoring programs for the Polk County branch of Big Brothers Big Sisters. Some of the Foundation’s current goals with BBBS are to promote new matches of volunteer Bigs with Littles, and to encourage strong and long-existing matches.

Little Brother Zachary and his Big Brother Victor Cegielski attended the annual Littles Recognition Dinner in Asheville, where all Littles attending were honored for their accomplishments.

Bigs and Littles are paired according to interests and other preferences. Trips to a zoo, theater, park, library, art gallery, thrift store, hiking trail, sporting event or museum could be on the calendar. Or just hanging out locally, baking cookies, taking a walk, or engaging in a service project sometimes fit the bill.

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Volunteers are thoroughly screened, trained and supported by Big Brothers Big Sisters staff throughout the match relationship. All matches must be approved by the parent/guardian, and their support is crucial for a successful match relationship. Parents and guardians are considered partners in every match of a Big and Little.

Bigs influence their Littles in so many positive ways.  With a focus on helping children identify their strengths, mentors encourage a positive attitude about education, help with development of social skills, and foster a sense of the future. Through the strength of supporters and volunteers working together to enhance the lives of children, Bigs are able to offer guidance and experiences to youth who may not otherwise have wide opportunities for adventure and exploration in the surrounding area.

Volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters is rewarding and allows each Big to enjoy sharing fun times with a youngster. As Big Sister Mary Prioleau says, “Once that connection is made you are never the same. It is a growth and learning opportunity for both. It changes your life.”

Mentoring helps instill values that may help children break the cycles that could hold them back. Improvements are seen in academics, school attendance, self-confidence, relationships with others, and in avoidance of risky behaviors.

The Polk County Community Foundation recognizes the tremendous impact that mentoring can have for children with limited opportunities. The Foundation created a special fund with Big Brothers Big Sisters that for years has helped to cover educational and enrichment activities for Littles, and to offset related expenses for Bigs. An endowment fund for BBBS is also managed at Polk County Community Foundation and is open to contributions from interested supporters. By generously providing funding for the Big Brothers Big Sisters programs, the donors and staff of the Foundation are enhancing the future for these children as well as for our community.

For more information about BBBS, call (828) 859-9230 or 899-9699, email or visit

– article submitted by Karen Dacey