ASHEVILLE NC – Big Brothers Big Sisters of WNC marks National Mentoring Month in January with a call to action to mentor and help youth become successful and productive citizens. Independent studies find Littles are more likely than their peers to show improvement in academics, behavior, self-esteem and aspirations. The designation of National Mentoring Month, established by the Harvard Mentoring Project of the Harvard School of Public Health, MENTOR, and the Corporation for National and Community Service, sets out to energize citizens to become mentors.
The agency will hold “Mentoring Works” information sessions on January 15th and 29th from 12:00-12:30 at their office in the United Way building downtown at 50 South French Broad Avenue in Room 213. Staff will share details about the program, the needs and volunteer opportunities. The community is invited to drop by, enjoy some snacks and learn how little steps lead to a big impact. Hi-Wire Brewery will also be holding a benefit night for Big Brothers Big Sisters in honor of National Mentoring Month. The event will be held at Hi-Wire Brewery on January 22nd from 4:00-11:00 PM.
The Buncombe County office has over 80 youth on the waiting list for a Big Brother or Big Sister. Jacob, a 13 year old Little, does not have a male role model in his life and hopes to be matched with a Big Brother who enjoys hiking, fishing and sports of all kinds. He wants his future Big Brother to know that he is smart, kind and athletic. Big Brothers Big Sisters staff carefully match children who face adversity with caring mentors in long-term, professionally supported one-to-one mentoring relationships.
Littles are not the only ones who benefit; mentors receive intrinsic rewards and often comment to our staff that they feel they get as much out of the relationship as the child does. Mentors in the Community-based Program enjoy activities together two times a month with a young person from a single-parent home. Big Brother Ramin Sadeghian says “being a Big is an outlet from my otherwise busy and stressful life. When I hang out with my little brother, we’re just happy to be in the moment. My Little grounds me, so I leave the encounter feeling both positive and relaxed. Our activities are much simpler than I expected. I pretty much do what I would normally do and my little brother is just happy to be out ‘n about. Our favorite activities lately have been graffiti hunting (finding beautiful sites and admiring the art).”
Mentors also impact students through the Site-based Program where they share one hour a week with a student at their school or after-school. Big Sister Lia Kaz shares one hour each week with a student helping with math, reading, and games to build her social skills and confidence. She shares that “one of the highlights of our time together was when I overheard her telling her dad that she wanted to stay late every week when we hung out.”
Big Brothers Big Sisters, the nation’s largest donor and volunteer supported mentoring network, holds itself accountable for children in its program to achieve measurable outcomes, such as educational success; avoidance of risky behaviors; and higher aspirations, greater confidence and better relationships. Partnering with parents/guardians, schools, corporations and others in the community, Big Brothers Big Sisters carefully pairs children (“Littles”) with screened volunteer mentors (“Bigs”) and monitors and supports these one-to-one mentoring matches throughout their course.
Big Brothers Big Sisters provides children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one mentoring relationships that change their lives for the better, forever. This mission has been the cornerstone of the national organization’s 100-year history. With 334 agencies across the country, Big Brothers Big Sisters serves nearly 630,000 children, volunteers and families. The local BBBS of WNC agency served 582 youth in 2013.