The Public Square

WILL - The Public Square - January 22, 2010

Eric Batsie on National Mentoring Month for Big Brothers and Big Sisters

In recognition of National Mentoring Month, Big Brothers Big Sisters is calling on not only volunteers, but donors as well, to provide support for thousands of children who need mentors. Big Brothers Big Sisters is the nation s largest donor-supported volunteer network of long-term mentors for youth, providing matching, screening and ongoing support for Bigs, Littles, and families. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central

Illinois is one of the network s nearly 400 agencies helping about 255,000 Littles -- primarily children of single, low-income and incarcerated parents succeed in and out of school.

National Mentoring Month is spearheaded by the Harvard Mentoring Project of the Harvard School of Public Health, MENTOR/National Mentoring Partnership, and the Corporation for National and Community Service. Big Brothers Big Sisters of America is a lead partner.

Our priority is our commitment to providing long-term mentoring, resulting in proven positive educational and social outcomes, improving kids' chances to succeed, in both community and school based mentoring matches.

Independent research finds Littles are more likely than their peers to have better school attendance and improvements in behavior -- avoiding violence and illegal activities -- and they are more likely to have stronger relationships at home and elsewhere.

Boys, particularly African American and Hispanic children, disproportionately represent Littles ready to be matched with Bigs. This month, with emphasis on mentoring, the organization is expecting a surge in volunteers. The hope is that donations will come in as well, so that all Bigs and Littles who are ready to be matched can begin a long, successful mentoring match, supported by Big Brothers Big Sisters professionals who are committed to helping vulnerable children beat the odds..

About Big Brothers Big Sisters of Champaign County: Big Brothers Big Sisters has a rich history of matching children in caring relationships with positive adult role models. For over 10 years, Big Brothers Big Sisters has fulfilled their mission of enriching, encouraging and empowering children to reach their highest potential through safe, fun, positive mentoring relationships with caring adults. We are currently serving 100 children and have over 100 children waiting for a mentor.

CALL TO ACTION: Consider becoming a mentor! Only a few hours a month will change the life of a child. To learn more call Eric at (217) 355 2227 again (217) 355-2227.

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