Four months ago, Big Brothers Big Sisters launched the Be There Now! campaign with a lofty goal in mind—to identify and recruit 600 new volunteers in just six months. Now, with 402 new Bigs since the start of the campaign, they are just 198 away from reaching that goal. But, with more than 1,100 children waiting for a Big Brother or Big Sister, there’s never been a better time than now to get involved.
For the Littles, the impact of having a mentor is powerful. Independent studies conducted by Public/Private Ventures, a national research organization, demonstrate the power of these relationships. Compared to similar youth, Littles who were teamed up with a Big Brother or Big Sister were less likely to begin using drugs or alcohol and less likely to skip school.
But sometimes it’s the simple things lead to big impacts. Misha, a St. Louis Big, said she was surprised at how easy it was to find activities to do with her Little Sister, Kashala.
"It seems that everything I suggest, she wants to do and she’s excited about it," Misha said. "I didn’t realize everything would be that special to her."
Over the past year, the two have enjoyed activities like taking advantage of a free art class, playing games like chess and Uno over an ice cream sundae or going to the St. Louis Mills Mall to shop. But, what means the most for Kashala is simply the quality time that she spends with her Big Sister.
"Kashala is one of four children," Misha said, "So she enjoys having her own private time where she can really have a voice."
The power of a trusting relationship is transformative for children in need of a role model. But the impact of that relationship is beneficial for the Bigs, as well. Misha describes her relationship with Kashalah as a wonderful experience for both of them.
"I really enjoy getting to spend time with Kashala," Misha said. "My life is normally so busy, but when we spend time together, it’s an opportunity to just enjoy life, and that’s liberating."
Big Brothers Big Sisters recognizes that most of its Littles would love nothing more than an extra role model in their life—more importantly, a trusted friend. Serving children all over the St. Louis Metropolitan area, St. Louis County, Cape Girardeau and St. Charles, BBBSEMO is calling on our communities to provide that extra support and encouragement that these children are asking for.
Big Brothers Big Sisters is currently seeking partnerships with both individuals as well as companies to recruit these needed volunteers. Already, numerous St. Louis companies—large and small, public and private—have partnered with the agency. But more are needed if children are going to be introduced to a new friendship before the holidays. BBBSEMO has made sure that potential partners have everything they need to help them get the word out, including posters, videos, talking points and more in their recruiting toolkit.
For more information on how to become a Big Brother or Big Sister, or to get your company or organization involved, call Vivian Gibson at 314-361-5900. Visit Big Brothers Big Sisters at www.bbbsemo.org.