Ending the wait

Ending the wait
Randy L. McKee

The Staff L/R Beverly Pearch, Mandy Thomas, Liz Thomas, Monique Duke, Brittany Douglas, Sarah Smith and Olivia Scally


If an hour of time each week could dramatically impact the life of a child in a positive way, would you give it?

“It doesn’t seem like 60 minutes could make such a big difference, but it does,” said Monique Duke, director of development and administration at Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Central Ohio. “All we ask of our Bigs (adult mentors) is that they devote four hours a month to a Little (child in the program) who could benefit from having a positive role model in their life.”

Right now, however, there are more children on the waitlist than adults available to volunteer.

“We have 25 children on our waitlist, and 17 of them are boys,” she said. “We would love to be able to match these boys with strong male role models.”

To help spread the word about the program and the kids who are waiting, BBBSECO has earmarked July as the month for its Match Madness Campaign. “The goal is to match 10 waiting Littles with adults,” she said.

In addition to hosting a regular podcast posted on Facebook, BBBSECO is hosting a Lunch for Little Food Truck event on Wednesday, July 21 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the headquarters at 1260 Monroe St. in New Philadelphia to help promote Match Madness. During the event, food trucks will be set up in the parking lot, and proceeds from lunch purchases will go toward supporting BBBSECO’s mission of leaving no child behind. Staff will be on hand to answer questions and help prospective Bigs get started. Duke said Bigs in the program don’t need to have any special education, talents or be of a certain age. They just need to possess the desire to make a difference in the life of a child.

“Our volunteers include people who have grown children, who’ve never had children, college students and seniors. You just have to be 18 years of age,” Duke said. “Anyone with love in their heart available to give to a child who might benefit from the strength of a bond created over walks, talks, hiking, biking, volunteering, board games or any other child-friendly pursuit is a good fit. And all mentors have free access to the YMCA to spend time with their Littles.”

The goal, she said, is to help build self-confidence where none exists. The age range for most Littles is 7-14, a particularly sensitive time in the emotional growth of a child. Imagine the impact you could make by helping to end the wait for one of the children currently on hold in the program.

“All mentors are matched with a trained professional mentoring specialist. We always have room for quality people who want to work with kids,” Duke said.

Duke said it’s a misconception that the children served by BBBSECO are all troubled. “We serve kids from one-parent families, kids who are socially shy, children who are struggling academically or kids who may be living with a family member instead of a parent. Pretty much any child who could use a role model is a candidate,” she said.

As a not-for-profit organization, Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Central Ohio relies partly on the generosity of donors to help keep things running and support programming. So even if you don’t have the time available to participate in helping to shape the life of a child, your financial resources are just as valuable.

You can visit the Big Brothers Big Sisters website, Bigs4Kids.com, and click on the Donate Now button to generously offer your financial support. You also can make a donation to the program in the form of event tickets, school supplies, gift cards, gas cards, and more. Your contribution will directly impact the children Big Brothers Big Sisters serves in Carroll and Tuscarawas counties.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Central Ohio is located at 1260 Monroe St. NW in New Philadelphia. The phone number is 330-339-6916, and the website is Bigs4Kids.com. Office hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. or by appointment. This story has been underwritten by BBBSECO.

Loading next article...

End of content

No more pages to load