A “Little” way to make a “Big” difference

I’m willing to bet that you’ve heard of the Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) organization. It is a national organization dedicated to proactively meeting the needs of children by giving them a positive role model. Their 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.”

When a child (aka a “Little” – short for “Little Brother or Little Sister”) is in need of a mentor (aka a “Big” – short for “Big Brother or Big Sister”), it’s because their parent or guardian or school counselor reached out to the local BBBS office. Midland, TX BBBS Executive Director Kay Crites says our economy is unique, especially due to the cost of housing. “Some of our parents have to work 2-3 jobs just trying to pay rent”, Crites says. This creates a situation where their children are in need of extra attention.

BBBS relies 100% on volunteer support, Crites says without volunteers the program simply doesn’t work. In Midland alone, there are 292 children enrolled in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program; however, only 65% of those children are matched with a “Big”. Simply put, they need our help – especially with Big Brothers.

How can you help?
“Big’s” spend 1-2 hours per week with their “Little’s” and have either a School-based or Community-based relationship. School-based programs are offered through a partnership with MISD and Campfire USA (afterschool care) and the mentor is able to come on-site and spend an hour with their student at an elementary school campus. In a Community-based relationship, the mentor will pick up the child from their home and take them either to a BBBS-organized activity, which a lot of times is free or very low-cost, or an activity of their choosing, such as the movies.

Want to get involved?
If you feel like BBBS could a good fit for you, simply call your local office (Midland 432.687.0195). You will be asked to visit the office to fill out paperwork and learn more about the program. All volunteers are subject to a criminal and Child Protective Services (CPS) background check as well as a check of their driving record.

How BBBS is impacting our community today
The BBBS organization tracks and measures 26 different areas, from grades to behavior and everything in between. “We do this to ensure we’re making a positive impact in these children’s lives”, Crites says. “Just recently we had a volunteer matched with a student who was struggling in school. His Big Brother talked to him about the importance of getting good grades and even helped him academically. The student is now on the A/B honor roll and even considering college!” Crites continues, “This is an opportunity to determine the future. We have the chance to mold the type of neighbors we’d like to have in 10-15 years.”