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Bigs Send Littles on the Right Path

Written by: Jessica Gould, Big Brothers Big Sisters

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Washington has been an active non-profit inThurstonCountysince 1986. Since then, hundreds of matches between mentors (Bigs) and youth (Littles) have been made, monitored and celebrated. Nationally, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America has been the premier mentoring agency for over 100 years. Research on the benefits for mentored youth are overwhelmingly positive and we see the impact match relationships have on youth and our community first-hand. These observations are supported by evidence-based research which proves that children with mentors are less likely to try drugs, skip school and be violent. They are more likely to get good grades, graduate from high school and have more positive relationships with their families and teachers.

The need for volunteers continues to grow as more children are being raised in single parent homes, often ones with an absent father.  These children, boys especially, need to have that support and mentoring while they are still receptive to it. Men who take that initiative speak about how positive mentoring is for them. Perhaps they had wonderful mentors growing up and they want to pass that legacy on. Some men remember not having anyone and how hard it was to grow up without someone to look up to and emulate.

All it takes is a little effort to be a Big. A few hours a week spent one-to-one with a child doing everyday activities can transform a child’s outlook and expectations for their own life. Big Brothers Big Sisters is in urgent need of mentors — currently we have 46 children waiting for a Big.  If you can give a little bit of time to one of these kids please contact us at 360.943.0409 or www.swwabigs.org.  You will make a BIG difference in a child’s life and your own.

James realized the difference he could make when he was matched 3 years ago with an 11 year old boy who was just starting to get in trouble at school. The child was starting to head down the same path that his father had followed and which had led to his father’s incarceration.

James and his Little started their friendship off easily because they already shared a love of basketball, comic books and being outside. As James’ Little began to trust that James would show up when he said he would, that he really wanted to know how his life was going and that he only gave advice when asked, their relationship deepened.

Not only did James enjoy the chance to do fun things and teach his Little about fixing cars and sinking 3-pointers, he also knew that his investment of time was keeping his Little on track at school, helping to improve his personal relationships and also teaching him that he could grow up and be a successful and happy man. Their relationship continues and they plan to know each other for the rest of their lives. James’ effort set his Little on a path that is so much brighter and filled with fun and hope.

We now serve children and families not only in Thurston and Lewis counties but also in Mason, Pacific and Grays Harborcounties. Our agency’s mission is to provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one mentoring relationships, transforming their lives for the better.