A ‘Big’ can mean the world to a ‘Little’

Matching a Big Brother and a Little Brother or a Big Sister and a Little Sister is no casual matter.

The Big Brothers Big Sisters program matches role models with younger students who need help of various sorts, some needing only the assurance of their ability and worth from those they admire and with whom they are comfortable.

Bigs are trained in the aims of the program and ways to reach the goals. Pairs usually spend some time together every week at the Littles’ schools. Bigs have considerable leeway in the way they spend that time.

One working with the program says it is carefully monitored. Bigs and Littles are initially interviewed toward evaluating the likelihood of the relationship’s success. The relationships are carefully tracked, interviews and tracking documented.

Bigs may find themselves challenging their Littles to set higher goals. Ultimate success can see Littles finding satisfaction in improved achievement. Besides, the relationships can be fun.

If you want to hear enthusiastic response to BBBS, talk with guidance counselor Teri Dunn (that’s Teri with one r) at Susan Moore Elementary. The first school in Blount County involved in the program, Susan Moore now has 48 matches. That means 48 young students needing some encouragement or other help and 48 high school students providing it. And that may mean uncounted Littles looking forward to themselves becoming Bigs.

Dunn has humorous tales to tell as well. She recalls Bigs complaining about the lack of suitable coloring books for boys. “They’re all girly coloring books, and they won’t do,” announced one Big.

Equally enthusiastic is Carol Hays, counselor at Pennington High, who coordinates the program between her school and Blountsville Elementary. “It’s extremely successful,” she related. From 16 pairs the first year, it has grown to 26 matches this year.

The county’s program now serves 100 kids. BBBS has its first paid worker; Judy Wilemon has just begun working part time.

BBBS invites continued support from the public. Raising funds is the purpose of its third annual Fashion Show- Luncheon, to take place Saturday, April 2, at the Wonderful Worship Center (behind Oneonta’s McDonald’s).

Businesses, organizations, and individuals are encouraged to sponsor tables at different levels according to accompanying privileges chosen, ranging from $250 to $750 and from VIP seating and a halfpage ad in the event program to display location for product or company booth.

Individuals contribute $25.

For details, contact Judy Wilemon, 256-572-8638, or www.bbbs.bhm.org.