Agency kicks off campaign to attract mentors

60 Bigs in 60 Days

Stephanie Lehmen, left, and Heather Feeler discuss the possibility of Lehman being a Big Sister in the Big Brothers Big Sisters Program. Feeler is a “Big” and enjoys the opportunity to be there for her “little”. Missouri Valley Big Brothers Big Sisters hosted a volunteer recruitment lunch at the Hawthorn Bank community room at their Amazonas Drive facility.

Stephanie Lehmen, left, and Heather Feeler discuss the possibility of Lehman being a Big Sister in the Big Brothers Big Sisters Program. Feeler is a “Big” and enjoys the opportunity to be there for her “little”. Missouri Valley Big Brothers Big Sisters hosted a volunteer recruitment lunch at the Hawthorn Bank community room at their Amazonas Drive facility. Photo by Julie Smith.

Missouri Valley Big Brothers Big Sisters is on a mission to enlist 60 Bigs in 60 Days.

The agency kicked off the campaign Thursday at a luncheon in Jefferson City at the Hawthorn Bank Community Room, 3600 Amazonas Drive.

“It’s our role to find friends, mentors, sisters, brothers, basically an extra support system for these children,” said Lee Knernschield, director of Missouri Valley Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Big Brothers Big Sisters is a nonprofit agency that matches adult mentors, known as Bigs, with children ages 6-17, known as Littles. The Bigs provide additional support, guidance and encouragement for the children.

Big Brothers Big Sisters has two types of Big/Little matches — school-based and community-based. In a school-based match, a mentor spends time with a child one hour a week at school, whether in the classroom or at a school-sponsored function. Community-based mentors spend time with their Littles in the community two hours a week. They may participate in various activities such as playing video games, going to the movie theater or attending sporting events.

Knernschield said nearly 60 children are currently on the agency’s waiting list; 110 Littles are already matched with Bigs.

“We match volunteers and children based on similar interests,” Knernschield said. “The goal is to impact the child’s life, but you learn so much, too.”

Demetrius Jones is matched with a 14-year-old. He said one of his favorite memories he has with his Little is when the duo volunteered as Salvation Army bell ringers several years ago.

“He asked questions, and it was an opportunity for us to have a conversation about helping others,” Jones said.

He said the most challenging thing for him as a Big is making sure he comes up with an activity that his Little, Greg, is interested in.

“We’ve been bowling, and we’ve gone to the movies and the skating rink,” Jones said. “He’s also taught me how to text.”

Heather Feeler, who has been a Big for 13 years and is a member on the agency’s advisory board, said the campaign is a chance for potential Bigs to learn more about the agency.

“In terms of Bigs, ask those (people) in your life and encourage them to get involved,” she said. “Attend our events and come and support what we’re doing.”

Knernschield said the agency’s biggest challenge is finding mentors.

“Getting the word out is key to us,” she said. “One hour a week is all it takes to impact a child’s life.”

If you would like to learn how to become a Big or if you’d like more information about Missouri Valley Big Brothers Big Sisters, call 573-634-3290.

Link:

www.mvbbbs.org

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