In December, many Middle Tennesseans are struggling to find the perfect holiday gift to wrap in pretty paper and present to friends and family. Sometimes the ideal gift is a fuzzy sweater or blinking toy, other times it might be a simple batch of homemade cookies or a card delivered with a smile. In either case, the most relevant gifts that anyone can receive are those that continue to bring joy and positive impact to the recipient all year long.
Volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters is, quite simply, a gift. Mentors give of their time to work with children who have good parents at home, but are missing an additional positive adult role model that can help them realize their full potential. While the value of this one-to-one time is priceless, studies have shown that children who are part of a structured mentoring program such as Big Brothers Big Sisters do better in school, are more likely to avoid drugs and violence, and their self-confidence is improved. These children also positively impact their peers – as their fellow students see another classmate enjoying assignments and actively taking part in classroom instruction - the other children follow suit. Teachers have praised the mentoring program, and children and volunteers have their own lives improved as a result.
One parent in the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee program, Bridgette, recently wrote in to share her thoughts. She shared, “I know that the relationship my son's Big has built with him is going to have an impact on him for years to come.” She continued, “He is more excited about his future now because he has such an awesome example.”
Bridgette shared that when she first learned of the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, she initially did not apply for her son to have a mentor because she was such a strong, independent woman – she proclaimed she could “do it all.” Indeed many parents fill multiple roles with their children, but it was as her son grew older and she was asked to tie a necktie on the way to church that Bridgette realized her more masculine skills were perhaps a bit rusty than she previously considered. After consulting google and you tube to have her son arrive at church with his tie secured, she returned home to search Big Brothers Big Sisters’ website and apply for a Big Brother and avoid such hassles in the future.
Hundreds more children are being positively impacted by their Big Brothers and Big Sisters right now in Middle Tennessee, yet there is much more work to be done. As you are evaluating your end of year financial investments and considering New Year’s resolutions to better yourself and your community – perhaps the holiday gift that keeps on giving, mentoring a child through Big Brothers Big Sisters, should be at the top of that list.
For more information, visit www.mentorakid.org or call (615) 329-9191.