Did you see the latest episode of the Bachelorette? If you’re like me, you keep that kind of personal information under wraps. We are all allowed to have our guilty pleasures and our free time is just that, ours. I’m not here to judge or persuade you to do anything else, because I sat on my couch last week, listening to Boyz II Men, while reading Us Weekly and shoveling spoonfuls of a pint of Ben & Jerry’s into my mouth. (For the record, it was B&J’s fro-yo edition.)
Free time is hard to come by. There’s never enough of it and when we have it, we often use it poorly. My blog entry today salutes those who manage to use an hour of their free time a week to better the life of someone else, more specifically, the lives of children in our community. Shout out to all of the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Northern Nevada.
The Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northern Nevada (BBBSNN) mission is “to provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported, one-to-one relationships that change their lives for the better, forever. BBBSNN believes that every child has the ability to succeed and thrive in life. They pride themselves on making meaningful, monitored matches between adult volunteers (“Bigs”) and children (“Littles”), ages 6 through 18, in our community.” Their goal is to “develop positive relationships that have a direct and lasting effect on the lives of youth.”
Starting this one-on-one relationship is a big decision and an even bigger commitment. When you decide to be a Big it isn’t just for a few months. You’re making the conscious choice to be a part of this child’s life for as long as possible, for as long as they need you, for as long and they want you there. I have had many friends close to me participate in the program and they wouldn’t trade the experience for the world. They have built relationships with their littles that have lasted years. They have seen positive changes in the kids and in themselves.
The program really does work wonders. According to BBBSNN.org, “National research has shown that positive relationships between Littles and their Bigs have a direct and measurable impact on children’s lives.”
By participating in the programs, Little Brothers and Sisters are:
• More confident in their schoolwork performance
• Able to get along better with their families
• 46% less likely to begin using illegal drugs
• 27% less likely to begin using alcohol
• 52% less likely to skip school.
I have always wanted to be a part of the program, but my life schedule is not conducive to a big-little relationship right now. However, in January, I joined the BBBSNN Young Professionals Committee (YPC). Our group meets once or twice a month to brainstorm ways to fund-raise for BBBSNN and develop ideas to better the program using our professional contacts and strengths. This month the YPC is hosting a poker tournament in hopes of raising some serious cash for BBBSNN. The event takes place on June 29th at 6pm in the Grand Sierra Resort Poker Room. The buy-in is $50 and there’s even a $500 grand prize. Visit www.BBBSNN/YPC for more details.
I implore you to get involved. Join the BBBSNN YPC, or better yet, BECOME A BIG! Might I suggest listening to some Boyz II Men while helping guide some deserving boys into men? (Or girls into women.)
About Great Works Wednesday
These are blog posts that shine a light on those people, places, institutions and organizations that do wonderful work. It’s a step outside of the daily marketing and advertising worlds that many of us occupy, and calls attention to the outstanding thinking that may inspire or help you see things in a different light. It is an online salute to the power of great works. Click here to see Ding’s Great Works.