Through the Big Brothers Big Sisters program volunteers will be paired with a child between the ages of 7-17. The Program forms a relationship between a “big”, the mentor, and a “little”, the child.
The program asks for a one-year commitment and encourages the members to continue the relationship well past the first year.
“What ends up happening is most people after 12 months want to continue that relationship,” said Michael Bolton, program specialist. “We have matches that go for 10 years or 12 years. We create these relationships that can really last a lifetime.”
The program requires a strong commitment from anyone hoping to be a mentor and involves an extensive interview. The goal is to match a “little” and a “big” that have similar personalities and enjoy doing the same types of activities.
Once a match has been made the littles and bigs will meet at least twice a month. The mentor will typically plan one on one outings with the child although bringing siblings is also a possibility. The Big Brother Big Sister mentoring program also sponsors outings for everyone involved at least once a month.
There are 19 active duty members currently involved in the program and they are well aware of potential deployments or temporary duties. Mr. Bolton just asks that the mentors try and maintain a relationship while away.
“I want to steer them in the right path, in order to be their friend and mentor at the same time. It’s nice to see that growth because I know, as they grow older, I’m a part of their success,” said Airman 1st Class D’aja Underwood, 355th Force Support Squadron.
Anyone looking to become a member can get more information at www.tucsonbigs.org or call Mr. Bolton at (520) 624-2447.
If you are a military parent and are looking for a way to get your children involved you can get more information at www.thepartnership.com or call DeeAnn Arroyo, director of prevention services at (520) 791-2711 ext. 1120