The “Big Brothers/Big Sisters” program for McDonough and Warren Counties has plenty of children who need an adult role model. There aren't enough adult volunteers to match with the children.
Board member Dan Yoder and program director Kim Lampitt said volunteers fill a gap in the life of a child. She said most children are nominated by a school teacher.
She said the program has 46 active matches. There are 15 children on the waiting list for an adult mentor.
The program asks adults to make a one-year commitment. Adults are subject to a background check and must attend orientation for the program. The kids range in age from six to 15 years of age.
Kampitt said during the program finds out about the interests of the children and adults during the screening process. She said matches are often based on similar interests or if the child has an academic need the matches a skill of a volunteer.
Yoder said, “I think we've seen that there are long-term benefits in term of the 'littles' becoming productive members of society. You know, they really are our future and it's absolutely essential that we do everything we can to ensure these young people are going to have the best chance of success.”
He said a mentor can impact an entire family by being a role model for all the children in that family.
This is “National Mentoring Month.” Both hope the focus will bring in more volunteers, not only as mentors but also in fund-raising. The organization hosts “Bowl for Kids' Sake” and a plant sale each year as its big fund-raisers.