‘Big Buddies’ program completes 19th year

SIDNEY — Big Brothers Big Sisters of Shelby & Darke County is wrapping up their 19th year of after-school Big Buddies youth mentoring programs.

Big Buddies is a nine-month commitment where high school students volunteer two times per month to mentor elementary students while under the supervision and guidance of Big Brothers Big Sisters staff. The purpose of the program is to provide elementary students with a positive role model and mentoring relationship with a high school student.

This year’s curriculum was entitled “Mindfulness: Healthy Minds, Healthy Bodies” and focused on brain development, social and emotional growth, nutrition, and exercise.

The Big Buddies program is an opportunity for high school students to give back to their community, receive service hours toward graduation requirements, be eligible for scholarships, add the experience to employment applications, and make a difference in the life of a child.

High school mentoring programs have become a widespread component of many nationally-affiliated Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies. Studies prove that children who spend time with a positive role model are more likely to become healthy, productive adults.

Seven different school locations hosted the Big Buddies after-school mentoring programs during the 2018-2019 school year. Ansonia Local Schools had 12 high school Big Buddies matched with 21 Little Buddies; Greenville City Schools had 15 high school Big Buddies matched with 15 Little Buddies; and Versailles Exempted Village Schools had 15 high school Big Buddies matched with 16 Little Buddies.

Within the Sidney City School District, Emerson Elementary had 31 high school Big Buddies matched with 40 Little Buddies; Longfellow Elementary had seven high school Big Buddies matched with nine Little Buddies; Northwood Elementary had 11 high school Big Buddies matched with eight Little Buddies; and Whittier Elementary had 23 high school Big Buddies matched with 25 Little Buddies.

Big Brothers Big Sisters has a vision for all children to achieve success in life. Their mission is to provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally-supported one-to-one relationships that change their lives for the better, forever.

By partnering with parents, guardians, volunteers, and others in the community; BBBS is held accountable for each child in their program achieving higher aspirations, greater confidence, better relationships, avoidance of risky behaviors, and educational success.

The Big Buddies program has proven beneficial, not only for the “Littles,” but for high school volunteers, as well.

Those interested in becoming a Big Buddy may contact Big Brothers Big Sisters of Shelby & Darke County, at 937-492-

7611, 937-547-9622, or by visiting www.bigbrobigsis-shelbydarke.org for more information.

The program is currently recruiting high school volunteers for the 2019-2020 school year.

Big Brothers Big Sisters is a non-profit, United Way member agency.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Shelby & Darke County will host its 13th annual Duck Derby & Duck-N-Run 5K on Thursday, June 20, beginning at 7 p.m., at Tawawa Park’s Geib Pavilion, in Sidney.

Duck Derby adoptions and 5K registration information is available on the agency’s website.