Mentoring a “Little” has “Big” Benefits

By February 1, 2012 Local Interest

According to Big Brothers Big Sisters, research has been shown that mentoring works!  Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Iowa served 360 children last year (wow!) with 165 active matches in both the Community Based and School Based Programs.  Katie Klein, Program Director at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Iowa, noted with the current 165 active matches, on average, Bigs will be matched with their Littles for twenty months!

As the nation’s largest volunteer and donor supported mentoring network, the staff at Big Brothers Big Sisters must do their “homework” when it comes to working with parents, volunteers and community members.  Positive interactions between Bigs and Littles have a measurable impact on a child’s life, especially when it comes to their educational success, achieving set goals, and building confidence in oneself.  The following data comes from locally gathered information:

  • 74% are thinking about their future with plans to finish high school and attend college,
  • 68% have had a reduction in their unexcused absences,
  • 85% have shown improvement in the areas of competence, confidence and levels of caring.

Katie says that “one of the great aspects of working and being involved with mentoring is hearing the success stories from our Bigs, Littles, and parents.”  Last month BBBS celebrated National Mentoring Month, where volunteers who dedicate their time to children in the community are honored for their outstanding efforts.  This year, Maggie Burger was awarded the Community Based Big of the Year.  Maggie and her Little Sister, Adriana began their match in 2006 in a School Based program, and have been inseparable ever since.  Adriana states that “meeting Maggie has been an experience of a lifetime.  I would say that she is my best friend and that I thank her for all of her work.”  Adriana’s mother agrees, noting that “Maggie goes above and beyond what she’s supposed to do…Adriana really looks forward to spending time with Maggie.  She is getting involved, doing great at school and making friends.”

Get involved to help make a difference.  Mentoring for as little as a few hours a month can help a child do something life changing.  Volunteer to be a mentor today!  Already a Big?  Share your thoughts on how mentoring benefits children and education, or tell us a story of a great match you had in the past or one you have currently!