Homer Alaska - Opinion

Story last updated at 3:57 PM on Wednesday, January 18, 2012

January: National Mentoring Month Big Brothers, Big Sisters matches change lives




Hello, my name is Audrey. I am 7 years old. I have been waiting for a Big Sister for a little while but hopefully I will get one soon. I am ready to have a Big Sister who can take me swimming or ice skating or we could do art projects together, maybe even go to the library and read books. Waiting is hard, I am ready for fun. It would be great to have a Big Sister instead of being the older sister at home. I know you are out there. Please come and find me, Big Sister.

Thank you,

Audrey

Little Sister waiting to be matched


Each year that I attend the Big Brothers Big Sisters luncheon presentation I become more and more impressed with the value of this program. The presentation itself is incredibly professional, passionate and powerful. There are so many young people who can use the extra companionship and mentorship an adult can offer and the testimonials given by the Bigs reveal that they benefit as much as their Littles do. The carefully matched pairs that the dedicated staff and volunteers seek lead to building meaningful relationships that sometimes continue beyond a Little's childhood.

I know one such relationship, and am convinced this program can be life changing.

Connections like these not only add meaning and value to both Bigs and Littles, but also to the community in which they live. The commitment and compassion I see with all those who are involved in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program is inspiring.

Rika Mouw

Community supporter

Homer


Homer recognizes the need for programs outside of school to help our children do well. Boys & Girls Club is now on the road to a stable, valued place in our community. Big Brothers Big Sisters had a great fundraiser and awareness "Dream Big" luncheon in November. A group is working to get kids outdoors; another is improving playground facilities. These efforts are exactly what Homer needs to address problems facing some of our youth.

Having been a Big with Big Brothers Big Sisters for nine years, I am a firm believer in the power of one-on-one mentoring. A caring, dependable adult who takes an interest in working with a child can make the difference between a student who stays in school and does well and one who drops out, or one who succumbs to peer pressure and gets involved in drugs or alcohol rather than choosing positive programs like athletics or the arts. It doesn't take a lot of time and it's fun. Mentoring works.

If you have some extra time, think about sharing it with a young person. Volunteering for Big Brothers Big Sisters will allow you to share experiences with a Little that will change you and make an incredible difference in a young person's life. My experience has given me a wonderful friend for the rest of my life.

Sincerely,

Nina Faust

Big Sister


As a member of the Big Brothers Big Sisters Leadership Council I get to be witness to the benefits that mentoring can bring to a community. Bigs and Littles both benefit from the relationship and special bond that is created. The rewards extend on into the school through improved performance and increased graduation rates and to the community as Bigs and Littles participate in various fundraisers like cleanup day, the food pantry and Relay For Life. There are many ways to support BBBS through donations, fundraisers, being a Big or dropping off clothes in the red bins at Ulmer's or Safeway. If you have a few hours a month, the Leadership Council is another great way to contribute to this worthwhile organization and help our children and community.

Leona Alexander

BBBS Leadership Council


Do you remember how fun it was to take your kids fishing, hiking or show them how to use a drill or sander? Have they grown up and left the nest? You can still enjoy those things a couple of times a month with someone looking for the same fun. Big Brothers Big Sisters does a great job of matching those with similar interest so if you're willing to be a dependable mentor to a young person, this could be great fun. It does take a commitment, but when you see how much a Little enjoys catching a fish or walking on a rabbit hunt, you will see how worthwhile it is. I can remember how my Dad or scout leaders spent time with me showing me skills I still use today and I am sure these can be passed on. A list of activities is posted online on a regular basis, but we haven't needed to look for what to do. We are planning to go ice fishing tomorrow.

Jim Huff

Big Brother

Homer


I am so impressed with Big Brothers Big Sisters in Homer. For such a small town we have a huge caring community heart. I am a single grandmother doing my very best to raise this child to be a huge success and to be happy and confident in his own skin with skills and experiences to form a healthy childhood. This community has been more than accommodating for our success in positive ways of support and BBBS is a major player.

BBBS is so wonderful to take the time and energy needed to keep something like this program running in such a small place. I'm sure there are more kids that need the services that don't even know or understand the impact that BBBS has on the lives of those involved.

I'm so grateful for the Big Sister my child has. She gives him adventure that I could not. She gives him movie time to free up my time for two hours. She is open to step up and be there in her time with him. She is loving and her heart is there for his comments and she does not give in to his power and control issues (too often)... She is dependable and I trust her with him and I know his best interest is always in first place when he is with her. He listens to what she says and loves her and the time and fun they have together. They have known each other for three years now, good years.

Carol Coleman

Grandmother of a Little Brother

Homer


Big Brothers Big Sisters has been one of my favorite organizations for many years. I first became aware of BBBS while living in Oregon in 1992, when a close friend became a Big Sister. Since then I have observed several friends, along with other community members I don't know as well, develop long lasting friendships with their Littles.

The benefits of this special mentoring are many and varied. A child enjoys immediately obvious opportunities when they are given the support and means to participate in community activities. There are more subtle beneficial effects gained by having a constant positive role model and confidante.

Bigs enjoy learning alongside their Littles, describing the experience as energizing and rewarding. Being a Big is a long-term commitment, but the actual time involved can be just a few hours a month. If you aren't able to be a Big it's possible to support atches by donating clothes in the red dumpster at Ulmer's or by making a donation directly or through Pick.Click.Give. when you sign up for your PFD.

Catriona Lowe

Community supporter


The beauty of Big Brothers Big Sisters is its simplicity. Match a Big and a Little and watch the magic. I have personally witnessed this magic with Nina Faust and her Little Brother Justice. Time, attention, interest and mutual respect were the ingredients.

One attentive adult can make all the difference in a young person's life; the difference between good and bad choices. Life's path is filled with decisions and choices of direction. Being a positive influence at these crossroads of life is fulfilling to both the Big and the Little. Become a part of this beautiful program by volunteering to share something really important -- yourself.

Roberta Highland

Community supporter


Thank you to all the folks who have supported our Big Brothers Big Sisters program over the years. We look forward to increasing our program for the coming year. We wish you all a Happy New Year.

Sue Alexander

Leadership Council

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