Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Cincinnati is urgently in need of volunteers. The agency pairs adult mentors—Big Brothers and Big Sisters--with young people in the tri-state who can benefit from a positive role model.
|Former Little Sister Stacie Tanksley at age eight, with her Big Sister Marsha Ford. Tanksley, now 23, is a college graduate and is planning her 2015 wedding. Ford will be the matron of honor. |
400 children are on the waiting list right now, with only a handful of volunteers being screened and matched. The need is critical, and the success is proven. 99% of children in the program are in school and are not involved with the juvenile justice system.
Mentoring also changes lives. Just ask 23-year old Stacie Tanksley, who was paired with a “Big Sister” at age eight. Tanksley says, “Both my parents and brother are mentally challenged. Though I’m not, I struggled. I was the child with no money, no friends and dirty clothes. Elementary school was horrible for me, except for the one day a week when I knew my Big Sister Marsha would pick me up after school.”
Marsha Ford, Tanksley says, was the one person she could count on. She was the person who helped with homework, took her to the library, the mall and, her favorite, the airport. The two lived in Lawrenceburg and, “For the first time,” Tanksley remembers, “I realized the world was bigger than I ever imagined, and that I could find my way in it. Marsha changed my life forever.”
Marsha, who told Stacie, “Take it one step at a time and know I’m always in your corner,” saw her “Little Sister” graduate from college and will be the matron of honor at Stacie’s upcoming wedding. She encourages more people in the community to become Big Brothers and Big Sisters, saying, “It’s important that every child have an adult in their life who believes in them, who is consistent in support, provides some structure and a safe place. You don’t have to spend money to make a difference. Make no mistake – you CAN make a difference in a child’s life. I guarantee the experience will make a difference in your life as well.”
Big Brothers Big Sisters needs volunteers throughout its 11 county service area in Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky and Southeastern Indiana. Kathy List, President and CEO of the agency, hopes the community will rally around the need for mentors, saying, “Please take a moment to recall someone in your life who helped you, not because they had to, but because they wanted to. Consider being a role model for a local child in honor of the person who helped you succeed in school and in life.”
Volunteer applications are on the agency website, www.bigsforkids.org. For more information, call 513-421-4120.