One of the most effective ways to recruit volunteer mentors is word of mouth. Here at BBBS, we see great results when our current and former volunteers talk with friends and family about their experience as a “Big”. With that in mind, we invited Big Sister Sheila to share her thoughts on being a Big Sister.
By Sheila Lyle
What did I know about kids? I’d never had a little sister. Sure, I was the neighborhood babysitter, and I have a niece and nephews, but what do I really know about mentoring a little girl? I kept thinking that I was too busy, or that I might not be a good enough mentor.
When I finally took the plunge and signed up, I had an interview with a BBBS Enrollment Specialist who explained in detail what it means to be a mentor and what is expected. She also asked questions about my life and asked about my limitations, all in an effort to match me with a Little who would be the best fit with my personality. She even took into consideration where I lived so I wouldn’t have to drive across town (what a relief… who wants to drive in Austin traffic)!
I’ve been mentoring my Little, Amari, for 3 years now and it has been one of the best experiences in my life. Watching her interests grow and her grades improve is so rewarding. This experience is not what I expected, sometimes we just go out for ice cream or go to the park, but I can see a difference in her each year.
Since meeting Amari, her grades are continually improving in school, she has joined the volleyball team and basketball team. She started singing in choir and enjoys her Drama/Acting class. She has so many interests and I am so proud of her stepping outside of her comfort zone and learning how to play team sports.
Last year, 97 % of Central Texas Little Brothers and Sisters stayed in school, improved their grades and avoided early parenting. We wouldn’t be where we are today without the guidance and encouragement we received from someone in our life. With only a few hours a week, you can encourage a child – a child who needs it the most – to become something great.