Big Brothers Big Sisters aims to enhance the lives of 24 Elementary school children through its “Big Buddy” program after a grant was awarded by the Clemmons Community Foundation.
The program will match children in elementary schools in the Clemmons area with a “Big Buddy” student volunteer from West Forsyth High School, the first time that Big Brothers Big Sisters has taken this approach to address the needs of children in the Clemmons community who are on the current waiting list for a mentor.
“While Morgan Elementary will be the primary location for the program, we anticipate that children in other schools will participate through the Jerry Long YMCA’s after school program,” said Lamaya Williams, the Director of Operations for Big Brothers Big Sisters. “We will work to match any child in the Clemmons/Lewisville area who needs and wants a ‘Big.’ We have established relationships with West Forsyth, Morgan Elementary, and the YMCA, so this program was a natural continuation of that partnership to help children in the Clemmons area.”
The Big Buddy program is an evidence-based mentoring program in which the “Bigs” meet with their “Little” at the designated site once a week and are professionally supervised.
Students from West Forsyth are chosen to participate after an extensive interview process and reference check. They are then matched with a “Little” who may have similar interests.
“We recruit all kinds of students to become ‘Bigs’, Williams said. “We require that they are passionate, consistent, and enjoy being around children. It is important that the ‘Big’ make a commitment to the ‘Little’ for the entire school year, and beyond, if possible.”
Participants in the program are assessed monthly and annually and measure the effectiveness of the mentoring relationship by focusing on six major categories: Scholastic efficacy, social acceptance, educational expectations, risky behaviors, misconduct and parental trust.
Big Brothers Big Sisters provides children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported relationships that change their lives for the better, forever. The goal of Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Big Buddy program is to help children achieve educational success, improve attitudes and competencies, and avoid risky behaviors in order to become responsible, productive citizens who are able to achieve lifelong success. As a result, the children have brighter futures and communities are better for everyone.
“Our hope is that every child paired with a mentor experiences the academic and social success that our program delivers,” Williams said. “We've seen the results over and over and we know that children in our program are better prepared in school and in life. Every child deserves an advocate and having a ‘Big’ could help a student see themselves as a champion. We plan to serve more than twenty children this year, and we hope to expand in subsequent years. We are thankful to the Clemmons Community Foundation for their generous support of our work. We’re looking forward to an awesome year!”