New match with Big Brothers Big Sisters

Published 8:00 am Thursday, June 14, 2018

When Big Brothers Big Sisters advisory council member Susie Kocher heard that there were girls on the waiting list to get a Big Sister, she decided to step up.

Kocher decided that she wanted to extend herself to fulfill this need for a child.

Big Brothers Big Sisters staff first presents information about the child to the volunteer. Next, the info about the volunteer is presented to the parent guardian and the child then decides if they are comfortable moving forward with the plan.

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If all are in agreement, the time comes for the two to meet. BBBS Program Coordinator Karen Dacey met Kocher in Columbus, and off they went to her new Little Sister’s home to meet the family and make the match official.

Big Sister Susie Kocher recently met her new Little Sister, Mailia. (Photo by Karen Dacey)

Upon meeting, Kocher could hardly contain her enthusiasm, and her new Little Sister Mailia’s response was similar.

Mailia’s mother, grandmother and sister were also taken with Susie right away. Mailia’s mother felt some initial trepidation about trusting the process and sharing her daughter with a near stranger,  but when she met Kocker she said she immediately sensed they would be a good fit.

On Kocher and Mailia’s first outing, they visited the horse barn and petted a new foal and fed the horses. Then, they stopped by Sunnydale to check on decorations for an upcoming event.

Next, they landed in Roger’s Park for a Summer Tracks concert, where Kocher introduced her new Little Sister to her friends there who had heard about Kocher’s anticipation of meeting her new Little Sister. When leaving the concert to head home, Mailia told her Kocher that she felt famous from all that special attention.

Littles often experience improved self-confidence, better relationships with others and do better in school, program organizers said. Mentors help children resist becoming involved in risky behaviors, and to dream of a bigger future for themselves.

In their community-based program Big Brothers Big Sisters, matches children ages 6 to 14 from single-parent or other nontraditional home environments with screened and trained adult mentors.

The pairs have outings in the community at least twice a month, doing activities both enjoy.  Enrollment is currently open for children to apply to have a Big Brother or Big Sister.

Elementary school students in grades first through fourth can enroll in the fall for the school-based program. Mentors visit an hour per week during the school year to help with school work, reading, homework and to help with the student’s social development.

For information about Big Brothers Big Sisters, call 828-859-9230, email or visit

-Submitted by Karen Dacey