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Big Brothers Big Sisters in need of volunteers

Published: Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012 11:53 a.m. CST • Updated: Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012 11:55 a.m. CST

Rita Baker, Jasper County director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Iowa, is seeking volunteers to mentor to a growing waiting list of children in the organization’s community-based program.

“We’re hoping at this time of the year we can find people who are willing to give more than just their money but also their time and talents,” she said.

The Big Brothers Big Sisters mission is to provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one relationships that change their lives for the better forever. As the nation’s largest donor and volunteer supported mentoring network, Big Brothers Big Sisters makes meaningful, monitored matches between adult volunteers, known as “Bigs,” and children ages 5 through 18, known as “Littles.”

For more than 65 years, BBBSCI has operated under the belief that inherent in every child is the ability to succeed and thrive in life. To that end, Bigs are paired with local “Littles” and are asked to volunteer a few hours a month — a minimum of four hours — to provide a positive influence in their lives.

In a recent survey of former Littles, 81 percent said their Bigs gave them hope and changed their perspectives of what they thought possible for their own lives. Eighty-three percent said their Bigs instilled values and principles that have guided them through life.

And volunteering is not only easy, but fun, too. Bigs and their Littles often share in the kinds of activities the Bigs already like to do, such as playing sports together, going on hikes and reading books.

“We’ve found over the years that those who mentor get as much out of Big Brothers Big Sisters as the kids they work with,” Baker said. “But we’re in desperate need of volunteers. We have girls on the waiting list now, and we’ve never had that before.”

Bob Eschliman can be contacted at (641) 792-3121 ext. 423 or via email at beschliman@newtondailynews.com.