January is National Mentoring Month and Brownwood's Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) organization is all about providing mentors for kids.
"Big Brothers Big Sisters matches adult volunteers for one-to-one mentoring," BBBS executive director Gina Jameson said. "Right now we have more than 40 kids on our waitlist so I would love to see more and more matches in the future."
Jameson said she has seen positive outcomes through the mentoring program.
"Children have a higher self-esteem. They do better in school. They're stronger leaders in the community. The quality of volunteers that come forward, that just want to help change these children's lives and show them a different perspective, is amazing," Jameson said. "You can't thank them enough on the impact they're going to have in the future."
BBBS board member and mentor Jodie Armstrong said it is beneficial for the kids to have another resource to turn to aside from or in addition to family members.
"Younger adults deal with a lot of things and sometimes they just need a different person," Armstrong said. "The family is not a bad unit but teens have a hard time talking to their own parents or siblings and it's nice just to have that other person that's an ear or a hug or a smile..."
According to Jameson, a majority of the kids in the program come from low-income or single-parent families. However, no kid gets turned away. The ages range from 6 to 14, but they can stay with the program until they graduate high school.
Mentors are required to complete an application, interview, background check and several trainings before officially becoming part of the program. They must at least be a high school graduate. They are asked to spend a minimum of 4 hours or a maximum of 20 hours per week with their "littles". For more information, call Jameson at (325) 643-5600 or visit www.bbbstx.org.