SIDNEY — Big Brothers Big Sisters of Shelby and Darke County continues to focus on its mission to provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one relationships that change their lives for the better, forever.
“Our vision is that all children achieve success in life,” said Executive Director Jennifer Bruns.
Her report continues:
Big Brothers Big Sisters in partnership with Workforce Development formed a new Middle School Mentoring program, “X-Force- Think Big.” Through this program sixth- to eighth-grade students are paired with adult professionals from Shelby County who meet with them twice a month. During these sessions the focus is in job skills needed for future workforce placement. Sessions also take place at various business/companies in the area for hands on activities. There are eight mentors working with eight students.
The after-school mentoring program, “Big Buddies” launched the 2016-17 school year with 225 participants. Buddy programs are established in Longfellow, Northwood, Emerson and Whittier elementary schools in Sidney, Woodland Heights, Versailles, and Ansonia Elementary Schools in Darke County. The program continues to promote social and educational enhancing activities. Big Brothers Big Sisters program was able to implement The 7 Habits of Happy Kids into all seven of the after school programs.
Big Brothers Big Sisters is working to launch Lunch “Buddies” at Jackson Center Elementary School. Community members will have lunch every Wednesday with an assigned second- or third-grade student. During lunch, they will be forming friendships as well as working on phonics and reading skills.
In 2016, the agency served approximately 151 children through our core community program. The agency currently has 37 children who are ready to be matched in the program with a Big Brother or Big Sister. Big Brothers Big Sisters staff and board are gearing up their recruitment efforts to get more community members involved in the Big Brothers Big Sisters.
Goals for 2017 are to remain active in the seven elementary schools and middle school after school program as well as launch the lunch buddies program throughout our two county service area and to grow the community base matches to 160 children being served. Big Brothers Big Sisters served over 372 children in 2016.
Forty-five percent of the operating funds for both counties are derived from Shelby and Darke County United Way agencies. Additional sources of revenue come from grants as well as the upcoming annual “Bowl For Kids’ Sake” set for March 3-4, 2017, at Bel-Mar Lanes, Sidney, and Treaty Lane’s Lanes, Greenville. The event is open to the public. Community members can form four to six person teams. Each team member collects donations and comes out to enjoy the party. Corporate Sponsorships are available at varying levels.
Big Brothers Big Sisters will be the beneficiary of the 2007 Game Plan for Financial Success featuring the Legendary Coach Lou Holtz on April 27. This event will take place at the Sidney High School Auditorium and tickets are $25 per person until Feb. 28, 2017. You can obtain your tickets for this event at www.ohio2017.com or by calling Eikenberry Retirement Planning at 800-548-6511.
The other major fundraiser is our Annual Duck Race and 5K Run in Tawawa Park. In 2016, the agency launched more than 3,092 rubber ducks, adopted by local community members. The first place duck and its owner took home a $1,000 shopping spree. This year the race is set for Thursday, June 22, 2017. The agency 5K run had over 257 participants in its 10th annual event.
More information about the agency can be found at www.bigbrobigsis-shelbydarke.org.