NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) (Aug. 24, 2023) – The local arm of the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization is growing.
East Central Ohio Chapter President and CEO Beverly Pearch says their service area now includes Harrison County, where they’re offering school and community-based mentoring along with a transitional program called Big Futures for Littles who’ve aged out of traditional matches.
“We continue to serve these kids from 18 to 24, providing them with support and resources to ensure that through that early part of adulthood that they are either enlisted in one of the forces; they are in an education program; or they are in steady employment somewhere.”
The school-based program is in partnership with the Harrison Hills district and begins the first week in October.
“Children within the district that are elementary, middle-school age that are interested in having a mentor, we will pair them up with high school students as well as other community members that are adults, and they will work together once a week on that Tuesday where they will go over homework, play some games together, have a snack, and then we have a curriculum based on social-emotional learning.”
Pearch says they’ve already established a few community-based matches and have been doing some outreach to recruit additional mentors, who are asked to spend a minimum of four hours per month with their Littles.
“We’ll provide free activities that you can bring them to each month so that you’re getting that time that you’re spending with them and then you can always implement them into the things that you’re doing with your own family as well. If you’re going to a cookout or to maybe church or a game, just take your Little along with you. It really seems to make a huge impact and a difference in a kid’s life to just have someone there for them.”
Harrison County was part of another Big Brothers Big Sisters chapter’s service area until about 10 years ago. Pearch says the Ohio Children’s Trust Fund saw a need to re-establish the program and approached them about making it happen.