LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Changing lives and perspectives. That's the goal of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Lincoln. The organization works with children facing adversity. It provides mentorships that prove to change a child's life for the better. So far this year, BBBS Lincoln has matched more than 200 kids with mentors. Right now, they're in need of help from the community to increase that number.
For more than 45 years, BBBS Lincoln has been changing lives, one child at a time. They look to boost confidence and push children to their highest abilities. As recent numbers of female volunteers continue to grow, they're in need of more female youth. The process to match up female bigs is moving fast.
The executive director for BBBS Lincoln Mario Racicot says, "We're looking for any female little between the age of 7 and 16 that could benefit from Big Brothers Big Sisters in our community based program."
The organization says while they are still accepting male littles, the process takes longer because of their lack of male volunteers. Right now, there are 108 kids waiting to be partnered up with a mentor, and 85 of them are boys.
Volunteers who are already enrolled in the program say being a big is one of the most fulfilling things they've ever done. Whether it's painting a picture, reading a book at the library, or going to a Huskers game, volunteers say doing these things with a little makes it even better. BBBS believes taking a little time to invest in a child's life goes a long way.
"We only asked the requirements for it is we asked our volunteers to make a one-year commitment and spend on average 4 to 6 hours per month," says Mario Racicot.
Between the ages of 2 and 15, executive director Mario Racicot was in and out of foster care. That's exactly why he serves as a big in the organization today.
Volunteers who mentor kids in the community-based program make a commitment. Mario tells 10/11 they positively impact a child's life by simply changing their perspectives. Investing as a big has shown to alter the course of a child's life into the right direction. Mario says being a former at-risk youth helps him understand why being a mentor is so important.
He tells 10/11, "The only reason I'm here today is because I had people who defended my potential, who saw goodness in me and wanted to protect it."
Mario also mentions there are many other bigs that volunteer for similar reasons. He says all BBBS volunteers take on their role as mentors because they are passionate and committed to change. Doing different activities and going to different events keeps bigs and littles excited.
Littles are usually matched up with bigs on a year-to-year basis. A study for BBBS found kids who have bigs do better in school and get along better with their family and friends. BBBS Lincoln uses the city to give bigs and littles places to meet and spend time together.
The volunteer process includes an application, a background check, and an interview. To be a volunteer, you must be at least 19 years old and have a reliable car.
On Saturday, September 14, 2019, BBBS matches will have an opportunity to play mini-golf and meet other matches. The organization says partnering with businesses and other organisations in Lincoln helps bring the community together.
If you or someone you know wants more information about BBBS, visit their website here.