DUBOIS – Big Brothers Big Sisters of Jefferson County has an overwhelming need for volunteer mentors, according to Maria Foringer, case manager.
Further, there are currently 52 children who are ages 5-15 years on the wait list. These children are hoping someone will volunteer to be their mentor, she said.
Of those 52 children, she said some have been waiting for more than three years. Of those, she said there are 33 children who are boys and are wishing for a Big Brother.
Volunteers, Foringer said, need to be at least 18 years old with a valid Pennsylvania driver’s license and reliable means of transportation. She said they will also be required to complete a screening process that includes background checks.
“You don’t need any special training or experiences with children,” she said. “We want volunteers from diverse backgrounds who can introduce a child to their interests and hobbies.”
According to her, all matches between “Bigs” and “Littles” are supported and monitored by professional staff that is always there to give activity ideas and to address any concerns throughout the life of a match.
She said children who are matched show positive youth outcomes, such as improved family and peer relationships, better school attendance and better academic performance, as well as being less likely to become involved with drugs and alcohol.
Big Brothers Big Sisters hosts quarterly group activities throughout the community that all “Bigs and Littles” are invited to attend at no cost, said Foringer.
She said volunteers are also asked to meet with their “Little” for a minimum of four hours per month.
Research, she said, has shown that volunteers have the most positive impact on a youth when they remain matched for at least 12 months. Volunteers are responsible for scheduling outings with the “Little” at their convenience.
For more information or to become involved, please call Big Brothers Big Sisters of Jefferson, Elk and McKean counties toll free at 1-877-776-1636 or visit online at www.bbbsjem.org.