Each year adult mentors across the country are honored during the month of January for their commitment to youth in America.
Big Brothers Big Sisters, a UCS program, has established youth mentoring programs throughout Bennington County and currently supports over 40 mentoring matches in local schools as well as in the community.
In January, our organization recognized these individuals (Bigs) for the many hours of personal time they spend with their littles arranging safe, supportive and fun experiences for them throughout the year.
Our Big Brothers and Big Sisters who serve as lunch time and/or community mentors were recently recognized in the Bennington Banner and the Manchester Journal along with the businesses that encourage them to participate once a week in our lunch-time mentoring programs. Bigs were also invited to celebrate National Mentoring Month at the West Mountain Inn where event highlights included a tasty lasagna dinner and safety training.
Many people ask how these adults, many of whom are working 40+ hours a week, have the time or energy to be a Big Brother or Big Sister to a child in their community. My answer to that question is always laced with stories, wonderful stories I hear from Big Brothers and Big Sisters who truly feel what they are doing is important.
How much time does it take to witness a 10-year-old child’s reaction after taking a bite of the first cupcake she has ever baked? Well, you do have to pick her up at her home, take her to yours and then bake a batch of boxed cupcakes. Or, how much time does it take to hike around Equinox Pond on a cool, sunny, fall day and listen to your little brother describe what it feels like to take his first-ever hike in the woods?
One mentor could not get over the fact that his little, who is 8 years old, had never seen an escalator before! The mentor said riding the escalator was instant, free entertainment for both of them at the mall that day.
The stories are endless and the time, well… sometimes a match date is one hour and sometimes its three hours depending on what you both decide to do that day.
I would like write that all the children in Bennington County who could really benefit from an adult mentor have been matched with one, but that
would not be true. Big Brothers Big Sisters has a list of girls and boys of all ages, who are hoping to be matched with a caring adult sometime soon.
Some of these kids could meet a mentor once a week for lunch and recess at their school and plan what to do together. Others could meet with a mentor after school, in the evening, or on a weekend. Their mentor would simply pick them up and spend time doing what they planned to do that day.
If you think you might be interested in knowing more about becoming a Big Brother or Big Sister in one of our programs, please email us in Bennington at firstname.lastname@example.org, and in Manchester at email@example.com.
There are some great boys and girls who sure could use you!