NEED FOR YOUTH MENTORS GROWS IN SHAWANO
Children are Waiting to be Matched, More Expected to Enroll this School Year
GREEN BAY, Wis.— Big Brothers Big Sisters of Shawano County (BBBS) is raising awareness about the need for mentors throughout the county.
“When children and teens have the influence of a caring adult, they are more likely stay focused in school and stay out of trouble,” said Katie Hess, executive director. “Being matched with a Big Sister or a Big Brother can help them navigate the challenges of our society today and help them realize their potential.”
The agency served 603 children in Brown, Door and Shawano counties in 2018. Last year, there were 80 children in Shawano County matched with Bigs. Many more children are waiting to be matched, and the start of the school year typically means more children will be enrolled.
Because of that, Big Brothers Big Sisters needs volunteers.
“Anyone who has the desire to help a child, and have a little fun along the way, can be a mentor,” says Diane Taylor, Shawano program specialist.
Children typically enter the program between the ages of 7 to 13 and are matched with a high school student or an adult who can meet with them at school or in the community.
Taylor says adults of any age, even retirees, make great mentors.
“Mentoring makes such an incredible impact on the life of a child, and the mentor gets a lot out of it too,” Taylor says. “A lot of Bigs say they enjoy sharing their life experiences with a younger person.”
While the waiting list of Littles may be discouraging, Taylor says parents and guardians should consider BBBS a resource for their child, especially for girls between the age of 7 and 10. “Big Brothers Big Sisters is an ally, and having a mentor can strengthen their relationship with their children,” Taylor said.
Youth enrolled in BBBSNEW’s community-based programs during 2018 showed improvement in social acceptance (65%), grades (63%), attitudes toward risky behaviors (86%) and parental trust (79%).
Anyone interested in learning more about being a Big or enrolling their child can fill out an application online at bbbsnew.org, or call Taylor at 920-615-9308.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Wisconsin is the premier youth mentoring organization serving Brown, Door and Shawano counties, serving more than 600 children in 2018. Our mission is to create and support one-to-one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth. Founded in 1972, we are a 100 percent donor and volunteer supported nonprofit organization.