Posted by Anne Decker
Big Brothers Big Sisters is the nation’s largest donor-and volunteer-supported mentoring network.
Big Brothers Big Sisters makes meaningful, monitored matches between adult volunteers (“Bigs”) and children (“Littles”), ages 6 through 17 to help children reach their full potential. Community Outreach Coordinator Chris Jackson told us that the adults and children meet 2-4 times a month for a minimum of an hour to enjoy activities together such as sports, gardening, bowling, bike riding and more. Bigs can also visit Littles at specific locations like their schools. BBBS also has a Bigs In Blue program that teams up children with law enforcement officers. The goal of these partnerships is to promote higher aspirations, greater confidence, better relationships, avoidance of risky behaviors and educational success among the children. Chris says that 144 children involved in the local program were recently surveyed and "71% of those students improved their self confidence, class participation went up 63%, academic performance went up 51%, relationship with peers went up 63%, sense of belonging at school went up 64%."
14 children are currently involved in the local Big Brothers Big Sisters with 5 on the waiting list. The local BBBS is supported by grants as well as fundraisers like Bowl For Kids Sake and Golf For Kids Sake. Children are referred to the program by their parent, caregiver, church or youth services agency. Any adult who wants to make a difference in a child's life can volunteer to be a Big. Call 419-222-8500 to get involved.
Also at Monday's meeting, Derek Stemen encouraged us to nominate people for the Jefferson Awards which is the country's most prestigious volunteer recognition award. "Think this year about all the people over the course of this past year that have helped in so many different ways in our community. We had so many volunteers stepping up to help in a variety of different ways and we want to make sure that we do a great job of recognizing them." The deadline to nominate someone is March 17. Contact Derek for more details.
Lesley Fry informed us of the activities of the Lima Rotary Foundation over the past year. In the past three grant periods, the Foundation has donated $17,000 to the following organizations: D.A.R.E., Lima Symphony Orchestra, SAFY, Marimor, MESA, Heartland Image Foundation, Allen Lima Youth Leadership and Encore Theater.
David Frost gave us a Paul Harris udpate. There are two ways to support the Rotary Foundation. The first is the 125 Club which acknowledges Rotarians who give $100 to the annual fund as well as $25 to PolioPlus. You can also support the Foundation by making automatically recurring gifts through Rotary Direct.