BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) – Big Brothers of Big Sisters of Northwest Florida fosters one-on-one mentoring throughout Bay and Okaloosa counties.

In Bay County, there are 19 kids waiting for a mentor. This means 19 kids are signed up and ready to be matched with a mentor. However, the non-profit organization lacks the mentors to pair them with.

“We’re looking for someone who has the time and the heart to influence a child, ” said Leanne Gaudet, Match Specialist with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Florida. She said it’s not necessarily about making time to mentor, but sharing your time to mentor. “It’s doing things you’re already doing,” said Gaudet. “Everything can be a teachable moment.”

Gaudet said they ask mentors, or “bigs”, to commit to mentoring for a least a year and spend time with the child, or “little” once a week, or every other week.

However, often times these mentors will continue volunteering and even make lifelong friendships.

“They see the child improve and that builds that relationship, and makes them want to stay,” said Guadet. “They fall in love with it.”

News 13 asked “bigs” why they love mentoring and asked “littles” why they they love their mentor. The responses were heartwarming.

Many “littles” said their mentors are fun, kind, and give good advice. Mentors said they enjoy doing things together, whether it’s just talking and catching up, or doing things they both love.

If learn more information about becoming a mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Florida, click here. You can also reach the organization directly in Panama City, call 850-763-KIDS.