News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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February 27, 2014

Big Brother/Big Sister meets signup goal

TERRE HAUTE — An opportunity to share good experiences with a youth has led 42 people to apply to the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Vigo County organization and to mentor a child.

The monthlong “30 Volunteers in 30 Days” campaign wrapped up Monday by exceeding the goal for new volunteers.

So far, 15 community matches have been made between a “big” and a “little” – as they are called. And a new site-based program has been established at West Vigo High School where 18 “bigs” will be matched with “littles” from West Vigo Elementary School.

“We’ve had a lot of positive feedback with this campaign,” said Holly Mullenix, program coordinator for Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Community awareness of the organization has increased, she said, and the backlog of “littles” waiting for matches with mentors has been reduced.

A new “big” who has joined the program is Mark Jahn, who said he saw a Tribune-Star story about the “30 in 30” campaign and decided to volunteer.

“My kids are grown and out of the house,” Jahn said, “and I was very excited that I can be a positive role model for a young person.”

He has been active in youth sports programs for several years, and is currently mentoring youths with the Farrington Grove Elementary after-school basketball program.

Jahn said he wants to give back to society where he can, and he thinks youth programs such as Big Brother Big Sister are great places to volunteer and make a difference in the life of a child. Jahn has already completed the required training to become a “big” mentor, and he expects to be matched with a “little” in a week or so.

A recent national study for the organization shows that because of their involvement in the program, Little Brothers and Little Sisters are:

• 46 percent less likely to begin using illegal drugs

• 27 percent less likely to begin using alcohol

• 52 percent less likely to skip school

• 33 percent less likely to bully or hit someone

• More confident in their schoolwork performance

• Able to get along better with their families

The youths in the program are ages 6 to 12 when they get their matches. They can continue in the program to age 18. The basis of the match is that a parent, guardian or teacher believes that the child will benefit from the presence of an additional caring adult in the child’s life.

Anyone wanting to get involved in the Vigo County organization by volunteering or making a donation can call 812-232-5190 to learn more. Information is also available online at www.casyonline.org through the Youth Prevention Programs tab.

 

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