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Bigs and Littles enjoy annual pool party

For more than 100 years Big Brothers Big Sisters has been changing children’s lives in this country by matching youth with caring adults to help guide and encourage them, providing proof that role models impact children in powerful ways. When children have the influence of a caring adult, they are more likely to avoid risky behaviors and to focus on positive development. Today’s youth face many challenges, and being matched with a Big Brother or Big Sister can help them navigate those tough situations.

For their community-based program, BBBS is now enrolling children, particularly girls, ages 6-16 from single parent or other nontraditional families, such as those living with grandparents. Screened and trained volunteers are paired with children to serve as partners with parent/guardians, teachers and others in “the village” approach to helping children reach their potential. Bigs and Littles go on outings in the community doing things they both enjoy like going for walks, hikes or swimming, visiting museums and parks, attending sports events, plays, concerts or movies, making crafts or cooking together. These activities build treasured memories while expanding the child’s horizons.

Speaking of swimming…when the hosts for the Big Brothers Big Sisters pool party and picnic had to cancel this summer, BBBS needed a new site for the annual event. Mark and Donis Schweizer, generous members of “the village,” offered their lovely backyard paradise for the organization’s summer swim party. Volunteer Bigs and their Littles from the organization’s community-based program gathered for a wonderful afternoon of fun. Littles enjoyed swimming and pool games while Bigs visited with each other nearby on the covered porch and kept a close eye on the Littles. All enjoyed lemonade and other refreshments contributed by Big Sister Sue Anderson and her Little Sister Nathalie and Big Sister Mary Prioleau, and Buck’s pizza was a big hit.

The event was funded by the Arthur M and Frances H Wilhelm Fund at the Polk County Community Foundation. The fund was established to support organizations that rely on volunteers, and with BBBS is specifically to be applied to activities for Bigs and Littles.

Big Brothers Big Sisters also provides mentoring services to children in grades 1-5 at area elementary schools. Volunteers, ages 16 up, are matched with a child who needs a little extra attention at school for help with academics or social development. Students are generally referred by school staff or parents may request the free assistance.

There are many ways this community can make a difference for a child. For information on volunteering or for enrolling a child, please contact Big Brothers Big Sisters at (828) 859-9230, 899-9699, or polk@bbbswnc.org.

– article submitted by Karen Dacey