Paul Becker, a big brother, sometimes stops in for lunch at school with his little, Jeremiah.
We don’t always realize the impact we can make in the life of a child by the giving of our time and attention. Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee is one organization that experiences first-hand the difference one adult can make to a child in need.
The mission of the organization is to provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally-supported one-to-one relationships that change their lives for the better, forever. To complete this mission though, more local “Bigs” are needed in the supported communities.
According to Katie Carrico, regional director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee, “we are always in need of more mentors and currently have a waiting list of 71 children waiting for a Big Brother or Big Sister.”
The chapter serves Hawkins, Sullivan, Washington and Carter counties and every area has a need. Especially in Kingsport and Bristol where the majority of children who are waiting for a big brother match are located.
Approximately 40 children are ready to be matched right now, 14 females and 26 males, ranging in ages from 6 to 15. To become a mentor, the eligibility process takes about one month to complete and a one-year commitment is requested.
Paul Becker has been a Big Brother for approximately 10 years.
“I’ve had a great experience volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters. It is so important to have a mom and dad involved in a child’s life and I wanted to practice what I preach and do something about it. I’m glad I can make a difference and help a child see there is a better pathway in life,” said Becker.
Being a Big Brother doesn’t need to be an expensive decision. As Becker said, “Sometimes I visit with him during lunch at school and talk to him and his friends. We have been to Bays Mountain, football games and bowling. Many times, Big Brothers Big Sisters provide donated tickets for the activities. Reading a book together is also a meaningful activity. Once, I even taught my little brother how to ride a bicycle.”
Andy Walters, a teacher at Kennedy Elementary, sent Katie Carrico a message about the positive impact he has witnessed in his student, Jeremiah, Becker’s little brother.
“I just want to mention what an awesome difference his Big has made on him. He has made a complete turnaround the past few months. When his Big visited today, Jeremiah lit up and you can tell they have a very positive and encouraging match relationship. I know that he has made a big impact on Jeremiah.”
Another Little, Anthony Davidson, had the following to say about his Big, Justin Davis.
“I’m glad to have someone to hang out with who keeps me safe, never puts me down and makes time to do manly things with me.”
Darlene Davidson, Anthony’s grandmother, said, “Justin reinforces what I’m trying to teach Anthony about attitude and respect. Justin has become my right-hand man. He has also helped Anthony deal with peer pressure at school. Anthony’s Big, Justin, is part of our family. He helps me a lot by reinforcing rules and has given Anthony dreams of a better future.”
“Thank you for showing people how important my Big is to me and I hope other boys waiting can get a Big Brother soon,” Anthony said.
If you unable to mentor, there are other ways to support them, such as The Bowl For Kids’ Sake for Big Brothers Big Sisters.
This three-day event takes place from 6 to 9 p.m., Thursday, April 10, at Belmont Lanes in Bristol, Tenn.; from 6 to 9 p.m., Friday, April 11, at Holiday Lanes in Johnson City; and from 5 to 9 p.m., Saturday, April 12, at Warpath Lanes in Kingsport. Form a team or bring your family out for an evening of bowling, food, music and prizes.
Registration at BowlForKidsToday.org is appreciated, but walk-ins the day of the event are accepted. Collect at least $50 per person to participate, and then enjoy the rest of the evening supporting a great cause. Bowling skills are optional and everyone is sure to have fun with the games and activities taking place throughout the evening.
For more information on the upcoming fundraiser, visit BowlForKidsToday.org or call 423-247-3240 for volunteer opportunities. Also, “like” Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.