Homer Alaska - Opinion

Story last updated at 4:20 PM on Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Not sure what to do? Start something big in new year

Point of View

by Susan Kirn

January is the perfect time to start something. It is a clean slate for a new year that is full of possibilities. Resolutions and new beginnings abound and, even if it is a little slow, the light is coming back.

Start something good, something fun, something that makes a difference in your life, in another's life and in our community. January is National Mentoring Month so it is a great time to start something in the life of a child by becoming a Big Brother, Big Sister or a Big Couple.

I am sure all of you have had mentors and that is really what Bigs are. Take a minute and think back to your own childhood. Who were those special people in your life who helped you succeed, pulled you back from making a poor decision, broadened your horizons, encouraged you, listened to you and believed in you? You carry their wisdom with you throughout your life.

Now that you have thought about your mentors and what they gave you, consider becoming a mentor to a child so they too can have those memories.

Being a mentor is not hard, nor do you need to be a perfect person to be a good mentor. It does not take a lot of time.

Still not sure? Here are just a few reasons to be a Big:

1) Discover what fun it is to see the world through the eyes of a child.

2) Share activities you enjoy to expand a youngster's horizons.

3) You'll be up on all the latest trends, style and vernacular – having a Little can make you cool.

4) You'll get to go watch your Little at a ball game or at a play or in band and cheer your heart out.

5) You'll be 10 feet taller and 100 IQ points smarter in your Little's eyes.

6) You'll see that you can be the change in a child's life and know the wonder of that.

7) You can be silly together.

8) You'll have someone who can teach you the ins and outs of the latest gadget.

9) You will learn that you are valuable and needed not just by your Little but from everyone here at Big Brothers Big Sisters.

10) You'll have someone to read a favorite story with again without feeling silly for being in the Children's Library.

And finally, you will know the importance of giving back and receiving more than you ever dreamed.

Mentoring is sharing time, attention and friendship. Whether visiting a child at school or taking in a movie or a hike on the weekend it is a great way to make a difference while having a good time.

And you are not on your own in this adventure.

The staff at Big Brothers Big Sisters will match you with a child whose interests and personality are a good fit with your own. They will help you develop a friendship and work through any challenges you might encounter.

To learn more about our community-based program and our school-based program, as well as the many other ways you can help Big Brothers Big Sisters, call 235-8397. During this month I encourage you to also consider other mentoring programs and other ways to give our youth the gifts of your wisdom and your friendship.

Start something big. Make a difference that can last a lifetime

Susan Kirn is the community director of Big Brothers Big Sisters.