Homer Alaska - News

Story last updated at 6:14 PM on Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Mentoring makes difference to youths, adults who give time




Through Big Brothers Big Sisters, I have been mentoring a young person for about 7 1/2 years now. It is one of the best volunteer experiences I have chosen to do. Not only have I enjoyed myself, learned a great deal from my "Little," but I really do feel this is likely one of the best things we as adults can do to help local youth become confident individuals who make good choices and who feel they really have an adult friend who is there to help them.

"Bigs" — the adults — get to share new experiences with a young person and watch a "Little" achieve confidence and gain new skills. Many times the "Big" learns new skills too. Mentoring and learning with a young person helps both the "Big" and the "Little" grow together and expand a shared bond of friendship.

Quality time together can be as simple as taking a walk, playing catch, sharing a board game, or whatever interests you both.

Quality time together can be as simple as taking a walk, playing catch, sharing a board game, or whatever interests you both.

When I started the program, I met with my young friend in school for an hour each week. Known as the site-based program within the schools, this is a comfortable way to get started before moving into the community-based program where you and your "Little" can do things around town. A very small time-commitment can make a huge difference in a young person's life.

The benefits of Big Brothers/Big Sisters go beyond the participants, extending to the school and to the community. If you have time that you could share with a young person, consider becoming a Big Brother or a Big Sister. It will surely bring a little magic into your life and into the life of a young person.

Nina Faust

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