Make a BIG Difference in a Child’s Life & Yours!
by: Jessica Gould, Big Brothers Big Sisters
On Thursday, March 29th, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Washington partnered with Great Wolf Lodge employees (who refer to themselves as Pack Members) for the 2nd annual Kinect Bowl. The event took place at the Great Wolf Lodge and paired Pack Members with Littles waiting for Bigs for an evening of fun, a BBQ dinner and a friendly bowling competition between the kids and the adults using 10 Xbox Kinect systems. The event gave Littles on the waiting list a glimpse of what it will be like to have a mentor in their life. When asked why he wants a Big Brother, future Little Brother Miguel states, “Because I want someone to look up to and to hang out with.” After waiting 2 years for a mentor, Miguel was matched a few months ago to his very own Big Brother.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Washington has 49 Littles waiting for a Big. Of those 49 children, 44 of them are boys between the ages of 6 and 17 years old. Boys wait an average of 1- 3 years for a Big. Research shows that when children are matched with a caring and consistent mentor they are more likely to do well in school, have healthier and happier relationships with their parents and teachers and less likely to have contact with the juvenile justice system.
The need for volunteers continues to grow as more children are raised in single parent homes, often ones with an absent father. These children, boys especially, need to have that support and mentoring now, while they are still receptive to it. Bigs who take that initiative speak about how positive mentoring has been for them. Perhaps they had wonderful mentors growing up and they want to pass that legacy on. In contrast to that experience, some people 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 of Southwest Washington is in urgent need of mentors — currently we have 49 children waiting for a Big. If you can give a little bit of your 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.