Two Salem students, Hailey Boyles and Sarah Webb, have recently worked with our local Big Brothers, Big Sisters Services, Inc. (http://bbbsnc.org/) Boyles and Webb both had very positive experiences, and would like to encourage other Salem students to get involved with the organization.
A word from Hailey Boyles
During my January Term, I had the privilege of doing an internship with Big Brothers, Big Sisters Services, Inc. of Winston-Salem. I knew little going into it; just that they match a mentor (Big) with a child (Little) to encourage and push the child to reach his or her full potential. Since then, I have learned just how important this program is, not only to the children and families they help, but also the community.
Research has shown that positive relationships between Littles and their Bigs have a direct and measurable impact on children’s lives, and that children participating in their programs are more confident in their schoolwork performance and less likely to skip school. They are also able to get along better with their families and friends and less likely to participate in risky behaviors, such as drug and alcohol use. Think back to when you were a child; can you think of one person who positively impacted your life who was not a part of your family? We all have people we can say changed our lives and made us the people we are today, so why not be that for a child living in the same community that we are while at Salem? Why not push them to be all that they can be, and be those people that they can say changed their lives?
There are currently 100 children on the waiting list looking for a Big Brother or Sister to be their mentor and help them reach their full potential. Females on this list can wait up to a year to be matched, and males two years. A lot can happen in a year, and they need good role models to them to help them see what all they can achieve. So, as a fellow Salem student, I am encouraging you all to get active and become a Big for these children. There are several programs that are wonderful for college students to get active in. One is the Community Based Program, where a Big takes his or her Little, age 6-15, out once a week for a year to do something fun. This can vary from going to a sporting event, cooking, going to the park, going to see a movie, etc. Anything that a Big thinks is fun and that his or her Little Brother or Sister will like, he or she can do. As college students, they know that you may not be here over summer, Christmas, and other breaks. They’re fine with that as long as you keep in contact with your Little over those breaks.
Another program that you might be interested in is the Site Based Program. In this program a Big goes to see his or her Little at his or her elementary, middle, or high school during their lunch break or after school. Here you can do things like read, play games, eat lunch, or talk with them. It is great way for all of you who do not have the time commitment as a Community Based volunteer to still be involved with the organization. The last program that students can get involved with is the Teen Mom program. They are looking for people who are parents or have knowledge that can be helpful to a teen mom, aging from 13-16. In this program, a Big encourages the teen to stay in school and graduate, and attend activities that can be helpful for a young mom.
All of these programs are wonderful and can really impact a child or youth’s life. They are also a great way to get more involved in the community and form relationships that could be helpful for you. Commitment is an important part to each of these programs, so if you can be fully committed and feel as though this is something you would like to do please email Heather Bolt at firstname.lastname@example.org for an application and start something for a child today! If you have further questions please call the Big Brothers Big Sisters office at (336) 724-7993.
An interview with Sarah Webb
Conducted by Judith Williams
Our very own Sarah Webb is an active participant in the “Big Brothers, Big Sisters” program here in Winston-Salem. For those who are out of the loop, “Big Brothers, Big Sisters” is an organization that is similar to our “Big Sis, Little Sis” tradition here at Salem. Children (age 6 and older) are paired with role models (18+) in one-to-one relationships, and they can last until the child grows into maturity and even beyond.
The relationship is beneficial not only the child, but the mentor, too. “This experience has given me so much more,” Webb says. Webb has wanted to become a mentor and a positive role model for kids. “Kids need a positive influence in their lives. Participating in Big Brothers, Big Sisters is a consistent way to show someone that I care.” That someone happens to be eight-year-old McKenna. “We are complete opposites! She is so hyper and has so much energy. We go on picnics, we’ve been to the zoo and we’ve been to the Children’s Museum with one of my friends from Wake who is also active in the program.”
Please email Heather Bolt at email@example.com for an application and start something for a child today! If you have further questions please call the Big Brothers, Big Sisters office at (336) 724-7993. For more information, check out the Big Brothers, Big Sisters website at http://bbbsnc.org/