National Mentoring Month: Celebrating Our Bigs & Calling For Volunteers

Can you make the resolution of a lifetime?

Can you resolve to make a bigger impact than you’ve ever made before?

We have a lot of volunteers who’ve made just such a resolution and we are honoring their commitment.

January is National Mentoring Month, and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas is celebrating thousands of volunteers who make a difference in children’s lives every month – our Big Brothers and Big Sisters. In 2018, our Bigs contributed more than 59,000 hours of volunteer service to our Littles.

“You can’t put a price tag on that kind of contribution. It is vital to our mission,” said BBBS of Central Texas CEO Brent Fields. “Thank you to all of our current and former Bigs whose involvement has helped thousands of children achieve success in life.”

“The beginning of a new year is a great time to recognize our amazing volunteers,” said Joe Strychalski, Vice President of Programs for BBBS. “It’s also a chance to remind people about the power of mentoring and its positive impact on the community.”

Big Sister Olivia Baker has seen this impact first-hand. “Big Brothers Big Sisters provides an opportunity for kids to get one-to-one mentoring unlike any other program. It gives them the opportunity to experience things outside of their everyday lives and to gain new perspective from a trusted, invested friend,” said Olivia. “Through our relationship, my Little Sister became the first person in her family to go to college. We also had ongoing talks about what she wants out of life and how I could help her get there. And it’s not only her life that changed. My relationship with my Little changed my life for the better as well.”

Bigs recognize that small things can make a big difference. “There are so many children who have a potential for greatness and don’t know it. Sometimes, it just takes one person believing in them to make them believe in themselves,” said Maggie Johnson, BBBS’ 2018 Big Sister of the Year. “Having a Big Brother or Big Sister to be that person can have a tremendous impact and truly does make a difference in the life of a child.”

And our volunteers don’t take these special relationships for granted. “It’s a privilege to be able to help kids recognize the potential within themselves and to help illuminate the opportunities they have in their lives,” said Jeremy Giroir, Big Brother. “As a Big, I can pay it forward by providing my Little with some of the opportunities that I have been lucky to have in my life – namely companionship, encouragement, confidence and trust.”

“As a Big Sister, I’ve been able to watch my Little grow from a pre-teen into a driven young woman who wants to go to college and become a doctor,” said Georgia O’Brien. “Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas gives children the opportunity to connect with mentors who help them gain confidence in their abilities and grow into strong leaders within the community. Not only does each individual child gain a friend and mentor, but each is empowered to grow into a valuable contributor to a stronger community.”

January is the month when many people resolve to do more, be more, achieve more, see more…. In this spirit of personal growth, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas has launched a volunteer recruitment campaign inviting area residents to make The Big Resolution to become Big Brothers or Sisters.

“Bettering yourself in the new year is a great goal,” Brent continued, “but we know people are also thinking about how to better their community and how to make sure that when they reflect on the year, they know they made a meaningful difference.”

This is a natural time to remind the community that Big Brothers and Big Sisters are always needed. BBBS has a particular need for volunteers who are male, African-American, Hispanic, or bilingual. Veterans are also needed to serve as mentors to children in the agency’s military mentoring program.

“Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas provides programming that makes being a ‘Big’ so much easier,” said Olivia Baker. “If people want to get involved, BBBS of Central Texas gives them all the tools to be successful.”

More than 270 youth in Central Texas are currently waiting to be matched with a Big Brother or Big Sister, and the only way to ensure they have someone to inspire them to reach their potential is for more adults to step up to become Bigs. Being a Big means committing to spending a few hours a month with a young person doing things that you love to do, like playing basketball, visiting the library, or learning how to cook.

If you are already a Big Brother or Big Sister, we thank you!

If you have not yet had the opportunity to volunteer, we invite you to make a New Year’s resolution that will last a lifetime. Resolve to become a Big Brother or Big Sister this year, and help change a child’s life for the better, forever.

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