Lincoln Grade School in Robinson is organizing a Big Brothers/Big Sisters program.
Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Crawford County will operate under the umbrella of the Mid-Illinois Big Brothers/Big Sisters program and operate out of Lincoln Grade School. It will begin as a school-based program and eventually grow into a community-based program.
The local program would like to begin the 2018 school year with about 12-15 at-risk students. Based on funding and the interest of volunteers, they hope to expand to include other communities in Crawford County as well.
Donna Rardin is participating in online training to facilitate this new program.
With the school-based program, a "Big" meets with a "Little" two to four times a month throughout the school year during a non-core class, extended lunch break or after school. Bigs and Littles work on homework together, play games, throw a ball around, or simply share stories with one another.
Rardin said this is similar to the Lunch Buddy program that has run for several years here, but more encompassing.
The new program is in need of adult volunteers. Role models comes in all shapes and sizes and they do not need any special degrees or job skills. They just need to want to positively impact the life of a young person.
"It's really all about starting a friendship and providing guidance," Rardin said.
Big Brothers/Big Sisters asks that volunteers be willing to commit at least one year and a minimum of one hour per week to the program. The safety of the children is the highest priority, and the application and interview process is very thorough.
For more than 100 years, Big Brothers/Big Sisters has operated under the belief that inherent in every child is the ability to succeed and thrive in life. As the nation's largest donor- and volunteer-supported mentoring network, Big Brothers/Big Sisters makes meaningful, monitored matches between adult volunteers ("Bigs") and children ("Littles"), in communities across the country. They develop positive relationships that have a direct and lasting effect on the lives of young people.
When children have the influence of a caring adult, they are more likely to avoid risky behaviors and to focus on academics. Today's youth face a variety of challenges, and being matched with a Big Brother or Big Sister can help them navigate these challenges and reach their potential. The goal is to provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported 1-to-1 relationships that change their lives for the better, forever.
Anyone interested in learning more about the program can contact Big Brothers Big Sisters of Crawford County at Lincoln Grade School, 301 Poplar Street, Robinson, IL 62454, 544-3315 or Donna Rardin at Donna@JoinSomethingBig.org.