Meadville Tribune

Opinion

March 13, 2014

Help us help more children at Big Brothers and Sisters

Big Brothers and Sisters is a one-to-one mentoring agency. This means children who come from a disadvantaged home or who may need some extra supervision or guidance receive it from our agency’s volunteers, who are called Bigs. We are in constant need of Bigs, as our unmatched group of Littles continues to grow.

Children in our program are less likely to hit, less likely to engage in risky behaviors, 27 percent less likely to drink, 46 percent less likely to smoke and less likely to skip school. As a result of our Bigs and the support that we give to the match, children enrolled in our program are more likely to have a higher grade point average, a better relationship with their family and peers and are more likely to stay in school, graduate and move on to an after-high school education setting.

What does this mean to the taxpayer? It translates into fewer children in the juvenile probation system, less time taken away from teaching due to classroom disruptions and fewer chances of a teen getting stoned or drunk and driving. This program is so effective that if your medication or your workout were as effective, we would all be in stunning health!

Big Brothers and Sisters helps set an internal compass in children who may be searching for a path. If you want to see some wonderful ways that Littles and Bigs are both affected, become a fan on Facebook. We just recently posted a movie clip where the Big was honoring his Little. The Little had come from a down-and-out area and had recently lost his brother to a senseless murder. The Big talks about how the boy has gone on to be a graduate of MIT.

There are many success stories. Go to bbscrawford.org to see our new website, receive e-newsletters and help our agency outreach. Please help us get the word out and consider one of the following: donating, sponsoring or enrolling a child.

Big Brothers and Sisters is a locally-funded agency and receives no funds from the national corporate office. This agency is driven solely by donations, United Way funds and small grants that are given for a specific purpose. Funding is scarce and getting scarcer. Due to this, we are an agency always struggling for funding. We are becoming an Educational Investment Tax Credit site, so please ask your tax preparer about how you can give your money locally instead of sending it to the state!

This agency offers help to 60 families in Crawford County. We would like to have more children matched, however, the caseload is tremendous for our small agency. We are servicing more children than the recommended amount for our staffing because we see the children who desperately need our help. As a result, we need help.

We need Bowl For Kids’ Sake committees and children’s activities committees and more! This agency has the opportunity to engage the whole county. Veterans, we could use you as Bigs! Churches, we could use you as host sites for small local groups! Crawford Area Young Chamber of Commerce members, we could use you as Bigs! Youth, we could use you through school fundraisers, senior projects and teams for our bowling fundraiser! Corporations, we need sponsorships and are working on many ways to give your company the honors it deserves for helping.

Call us at 724-8589 or 827-1831 to get involved in any way that you are most comfortable. At the next Garden Club, Rotary meeting or social club gathering where they are deciding which agency or cause is worth giving to, please speak up and say Big Brothers and Sisters. Our children would appreciate that!

Help us help more children! And please help us have teams for Bowl For Kids’ Sake at either location — March 22 in Titusville at Lin Van Lanes and April 12 in the Meadville area at Plaza Lanes.

Paula Jo Lynch is executive director of Big Brothers and Sisters of Crawford County Inc. Learn more at bbscrawford.org.

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