Kids today face problems we never dreamed of when we were younger. But, hard as it is for some kids, there is help.
A Big Brother or Big Sister can act as a mentor and a role model. A "Big" can show a child that, no matter how difficult things get, there is a caring adult friend there for them - someone who will listen with an uncritical ear, who will give advice if asked, and encouragement when needed, and who will help put things into perspective.
Ultimately, the guidance of a Big Brother or Big Sister can help a child grow into a confident, competent, and caring individual.
A Big Brother or Big Sister can have a major impact on a child's life, and yet it's a truly simple process. It just takes some time, a love of life, and a concern for children.
A Big Brother or Big Sister is not a substitute parent or a babysitter. Activites are those any friends might share: watching movies, bicycling in the park, sitting and talking, or even just running errands. One volunteer said, "Some of our best times are just talking when we're in the car." The focus is not on spending money, but on just spending time with a child. Your time can make a positive difference in a child's life.
"My Big Brother came to all my games... he cared and gave me confidence." - A Little Brother
A child's self-esteem increases when an adult friend genuinely cares. His or her future is broadened by a role model who can be a guide to life's opportunities, and around life's obstacles. And for our children, the obstacles are very real.
The benefits to volunteers are: a chance to reconnect with youth, to make a good life even better, and to have a sense of "giving something back." The feelings of growing and learning are shared by the child and the volunteer. As one volunteer put it, "I joined to make a difference in a child's life, but sometimes I think I get more out it than he does."
Our service matches children from primarily father-absent homes with adult volunteers. The volunteers and the children come from all walks of life and from all types of communities.
Prospective volunteers, who usually commit to a few hours a week for about a year, are carefully evaluated by the agency staff. Each match is based on the needs of the child and the interests of both the child and the volunteer. Once a match is made, professional caseworkers are there to provide advice and support to help the match grow.
"It's not the activity that matters, it's just having time to listen." - A Big Sister
"Our work is as elementary as putting a friend into a child's life, and as essential as putting hope into a child's future."
Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Central Missouri has several kids waiting for Bigs. By the year 2000 we would like to eliminate our waiting list and double the number of matches in our area. Please help us acheive these two goals.
If you would like to help or just want more information, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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