One of the country’s oldest mentorship program needs your help

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BAY COUNTY Fla. (WMBB) — The Big Brothers and Sisters chapter in Northwest Florida has a shortage of mentors. They are asking for your help volunteering your time and experiences.

“We see a lot of kids who try a lot of first with their bigs,” said Big Brothers Big Sisters Senior Match specialist Leanne Gaudet.

She said it never gets old matching children with mentors.

“We match up children from predominantly single-parent homes or non-traditional homes that are just in need of a really good role model, male or female,” said Gaudet.

Unfortunately, more kids need mentors than there are mentors, or “Bigs”. 

“As far as kids that are waiting, we have about 30,” she said. “And 22 of those are boys. So the need for male mentors is definitely what our biggest push is right now.”

Gaudet looks at volunteers’ strengths and pairs them with each child’s needs. 

As far as the time commitment, it is encouraged that “bigs” reach out to their littles at least once a week and do activities with them every second week.

That small amount of time pays off.

“One of the things that we see a lot of the time is children doing a lot better in school,” said Gaudet. “We will see their grades get much better.”

The bigs also provide their “littles” with life-changing experiences, like putting their toes in the sugar-white sand for the first time.

“And really just becoming the people that they want to be and can be, And are,” said Gaudet. “That’s the great part of it.”

Families, like a husband and wife or a mother and daughter, can also volunteer as a “big duo”. 

BBBS help to mentor children through college. If you’re interested in being a mentor or involving your child, visit the Big Brothers and Sisters website.

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