Back in March, as you may remember, Yutz Merkle sponsored a “Like Us” campaign on Facebook. The campaign was a success! Not only did YMI increase our Facebook fans, but we raised $300 for, and heightened awareness of, a great organization – Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Monroe County.
As I wrote in an earlier blog, Big Brothers/Big Sisters maintains the same focus today as when the organization was founded over 100 years ago – helping children reach their potential by building one-on-one relationships. Wondering how exactly those relationships are built, a few more detailed questions about our local program came to mind. When Tanya Olaviany, program director of Big Brothers/Big Sisters, stopped in to pick up our donation check this week, I decided to ask her those questions. Here’s what she had to say:
1. Why is the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program important to our community?
It helps children grow up to be good citizens, providing them with a strong foundation to be contributing members of the community.
2. Of what aspect of your program are you most proud?
The measurable outcomes of the kids. You can see the program makes a difference: kids who go through the program have a higher graduation rate and lower alcohol/drug use issues when they become adults (than children with similar situations).
3. How many “Littles” do you have in Monroe County?
There are approximately 85 matches currently.
4. Are there “Littles” on a waiting list?
There are 62 on the waiting list.
5. If I want to volunteer to be a “Big”, what is the process?
While there is no parenting experience needed, you will need to fill out an application, get a background check and be interviewed.
6. Who should I contact if I am interested in volunteering?
In Stroudsburg, call 570.421.2877 or visit our website at www.bbbsnepa.org
7. Do you need more female or male volunteers?
Males, because most on the waiting list are boys.
8. What are some “typical” activities for “Bigs” and “Littles”?
The typical activities are everyday activities – going to the library, helping with school projects, washing the cars, baking, going to ballgames, going to the park…
9. What will the YMI donation accomplish for your program?
All donations help fund the staff that recruits, matches and provides ongoing support to the big/little teams. The money donated in Monroe County stays in Monroe County.
As I have also written before, I believe the greatest gift you can give someone is the gift of your time. With a waiting list of 62, it is clear our local Big Brothers/Big Sisters program needs volunteers. If you have the time to offer, please consider volunteering. The gift is two-fold.
Twenty years ago, Allan Luks conducted national research evidencing there are real physical and emotional health benefits reaped by volunteers. He introduced the term “Helper’s High” to describe those powerful physical feelings experienced when directly helping others. There is a wonderful opportunity right here in Monroe County to reap that reward, so why not do so while helping to make the world a better place for a “Little” in need of a “Big”? Leo Buscaglia may have said it best when he said, “Don’t spend your precious time asking, “Why isn’t the world a better place?” It will only be time wasted. The question to ask is, “How can I make it better?” To that, there is an answer.”