Little Sister Ryder Perkins of Waterville meets with her Big Sister Hayley SooHoo of Waterville once a week to chat while they draw, color, take walks, and sometimes learn new dances together. Their friendship was created through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Mid-Maine’s longstanding, one-to-one mentoring program that matches children facing adversity with positive role models. Ryder and Hayley are part of BBBS of Mid-Maine’s January promotion of National Mentoring Month, encouraging adults to make a New Year’s resolution to help local kids by becoming a mentor to one of 100 kids waiting for a Big. Submitted photo

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Mid-Maine kicks off the new year and National Mentoring Month this January with an effort to recruit adult volunteers in the community to serve as mentors to 100 children waiting to be matched.

“Bettering yourself in the new year is a fantastic goal,” Big Brothers Big Sisters of Mid-Maine Interim Executive Director Mae Slevisky said in a news release from Monica Charette, communications manager. “This year, we encourage people to think about how they can do that by also bettering their community — by becoming a Big Brother or Big Sister.”

According to Slevinsky, there has never been a more critical time for mentoring.

“The events of the past few years have taken their toll on our most vulnerable citizens — our children. The isolation brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic has hampered the social and academic progress of many kids, and many more are experiencing mental health challenges,” said Slevinsky. “Kids need mentors now more than ever, to help them navigate challenges, open up doors of opportunity, and give them additional support they may need to excel in school and in their communities.”

According to Slevinsky, BBBS of Mid-Maine has 100 youth in its seven-county service area waiting to be matched with a mentor. Becoming a Big means committing to spending a couple of hours a week with a young person, doing things both like to do, like playing outside, visiting the library, or taking a walk, she said.

Matches also explore new activities together, like visiting a museum or skiing for the first time. “It’s about having fun, being a friend, and nurturing a child’s greatest potential,” Slevinsky said.

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Adult mentors are interviewed, screened and trained. They receive ongoing support from BBBS of Mid-Maine professional staff, including regular match support meetings to ensure safety and help strengthen relationships. Successful volunteers are responsible, caring adults, who enjoy working with youth of all ages and backgrounds, have excellent listening and communication skills, are patient, willing to learn, and share in the BBBS mission of igniting the power and promise of local youth.

To learn more about Littles waiting, follow BBBS of Mid-Maine’s weekly “Waiting Wednesday” Facebook posts.

For information on how to become a Big or enroll a child, visit bbbsmidmaine.org, email [email protected] or call 207-236-BBBS (2227).

 

 

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