Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Tri-Cities looking for more volunteers

Brandon Paykamian • Jul 18, 2017 at 11:04 PM

When children are looking to turn things around in life, it’s important for them to have the support of a friend and mentor.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Tri-Cities is looking for more volunteers willing to work with youth in the region by providing positive role models and mentors for at-risk children. By spending two to four hours a month with an at-risk youth, volunteers can help make a positive impact by helping improve their self-esteem, behavior and academic progress.

Regional Director Kathy Lowdermilk said Big Brothers Big Sisters is looking for at least 100 volunteers to help out. She said the organization works every month to find volunteers to interview.

“We have many children on our list just waiting for a Big Brother or Sister,” she said. “It only takes about four hours a month, but that time truly makes a difference to our kids.

“We are looking for caring community members that want to make a difference.”

The local office, which serves the area surrounding Bristol, Kingsport and Johnson City, is part of one of the oldest and largest youth mentoring programs in the United States. Lowdermilk said the organization’s system for finding mentors willing to make a positive impact on the lives of at-risk youth has been proven to work time and time again.

She said the organization often conducts surveys and studies to track the progress of the children involved.

“In general, we get a lot of info from our volunteers and families about how much better they’re doing,” Lowdermilk said.

Child-volunteer matches are based on in-depth interviews with parents, children and potential volunteers, according to Lowdermilk. She said an important part of finding the right volunteer for each individual child is getting to know each person involved.

“We get to know the volunteer and match them up with children who have similar interests,” she said. “Sometimes, they have similar life experiences that make it a match, so we're always looking for those commonalities to make sure they’ll get along well.”

To find out more about how to volunteer with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Tri-Cities, call the local office at 423-247-3240, or visit TennesseeBig.org, where you can also find additional information on future events.

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