Big Brothers Big Sisters expanding service in the North County
Organization in need of volunteers
– Big Brothers Big Sisters is serving an increasing number of youth in the North County. In 2014, with a $250,000, four-year grant from Must Charities, Big Brothers Big Sisters set out to increase by 400-percent the number of children they served north of the grade. Now nearly halfway through their project, 64 North County children have an adult mentor.
The collaboration, designed to ensure children, who ask for assistance from an adult, receive the help they need, allowed Big Brothers Big Sisters to hire an additional caseworker and open their Paso Robles location to better serve the North County community.
The agency plans to make an additional 24 mentor/youth matches in the coming year. They are accepting youth applicants of both genders and have openings for five girls, applying before the end of the year.
They are especially in need of male volunteers willing to spend at least six hours a month interacting with a child who has requested help. A streamlined enrollment process, training and ongoing professional support is provided by the agency. Training sessions are available on Nov. 30 and Dec. 14.
One example of the impact that a Big has in the life of an individual child is the story of Maya, a Latina girl living in a low-income family with several siblings and high marital stress. In sixth grade, her parents separated and she became depressed and withdrawn. Her grades and attendance fell and she stopped socializing. Her older sister said, “You could see that the light inside her was going out.” Maya was paired with a Big Sister, and within six months she started coming out of her shell. She was having fun more, making jokes and connecting with others. When she started middle school, her attendance and grades went up and she even joined a school club. “We watch this happen with each of our children as they begin to thrive as a result of caring, long-term interactions with their Big.” said program director Tatiana Abundis.
On a national level, a public-private ventures study found that children enrolled in Big Brothers Big Sisters programs are more likely than their peers to perform better in school, behave non-violently, avoid illegal drugs and alcohol, and have stronger family relationships.
For more information on volunteering or contributing to Big Brothers Big Sisters, call (805) 239-3534, or log onto www.slobigs.org.