SIDNEY — Big Brothers Big Sisters of Shelby and Darke County has announced that another year of the Big Buddies program is up and running. This is the 16th year the program has been in place. The Buddies program is an eight-month commitment where high school freshman, sophomores, juniors and seniors agree to work with and mentor elementary aged children two times per month.
During these meetings, the high school students, under the supervision of Big Brothers Big Sisters staff, work with one or two children on different educational and recreational activities. The program continues to promote social and educational enhancing activities, as well as fitness, nutrition and personal safety.
The Buddies program this year is at a total of seven different sites in both counties for the 2015-16 school year. These sessions are held at Ansonia, Woodland Heights and Versailles in Darke County, as well as Emerson, Longfellow, Northwood and Whittier Elementary Schools in Shelby County.
High school mentoring programs have become a widespread component of many nationally affiliated Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies. Studies prove that children from who spend time with a positive role model are more likely to become healthy productive adults. The Big Buddies program has proven beneficial not only for the “Littles” but for the high school volunteers, as well.
The agency has announced all after-school programs are up and running. This year they kicked off the programs with a total of 164 volunteers from Anna, Ansonia, Botkins, Christian Academy, Fairlawn, Franklin Monroe, Greenville, Jackson Center, Lehman, Mississinawa Valley, Russia, Sidney and Versailles.
Local high school volunteers for the fall of 2015 are:
Anna High School: Brooke Gephart, Brooke Haynes, Samantha Hentrich, Alisha Holtzapple, Blake Ike, Olivia Maurer, Chloe Spence, Ashtin Barnes, Hannah Eilerman, Sarah Gilchrist, Courtney Hollenbacher, Anastasia Kovalenko, Brittany Phillips, Sidney Sasko, Lydia Zimpfer, Alyssa Benavente, Audrey Barhorst, Tessa Beatty, Allysondra Bolin, Morgan Brunswick, Nathan Bulle, Nick Bulle, Elaina Crosson, Robert Ehemann, Krista Gehret, Rachel Gehret, Sarah Layman, Catie Millhouse, Grace Ontrop and Leona Roe.
Botkins High School: Elizabeth Will, Crystal Alstaetter, Michelle Alstaetter, Noah Burton, & Madison Wagner. Christian Academy High School: Charissa Divens, Ethan Pollard and Alexis Boersma.
Fairlawn: Clara Strunk and Rachel King.
Jackson Center High School: Maelee Enochs, Emme Farley, Madison Yarkosky, Kasey Copeland, Abigail Nash, Jaclyn Schmiesing, and Courtney Gasson.
Lehman Catholic High School: Eli Baker, Lauren Riley, Tessa Brown, Sarah Gibson, Caroline Heitmeyer, Alvarro Barrera, Samantha Edwards, Claudia Fatone, Sara Fuller, Elizabeth Gibson, Meaghan McDonald, Grace Olding, Natalie Schmidt, Ana Vazquez, Madison Heffelfinger, David Pott and Jacquie Schemmel.
Russia: Olivia Quinter, Cameo Wilson, Amanda Frazier and Megan Frazier.
Sidney High School: Connor Armstrong, Cole Cartwright, Talia Herron, Ian Humphrey, Tinara Johnson-Cox, Olivia Jones, Kyle Mann, Kristina Manocchi, Kayla Slife, Emily Sauers, Rachel Trudeau, Devin Williams, Kelsey Underwood, Alexis Younker, Emma Zerkle, Arielle Snider, Rheba Vonderhuevel, Taylor Williams, Janae Drees, Kaitlyn Graber, Allysia Kindell, Stephanie Macke, Skylar Parker, Josh Wagner, Shelby Baker, Mackenzie Bates, Allya Bolin, Bobbi Lowe, Logan Schultzand Amanda Thomas.
The agency is currently still accepting additional volunteers at some of its sites.
In addition to the after-school program the agency has 83 community-based matches throughout Shelby and Darke County. These matches meet with each other twice a month for outings which are planned around the volunteers own schedule. The goal of the community-based program is to match a local child with an adult mentor, who can serve as a positive role model, and expose the child to enhancing and uplifting activities. Currently the agency has 21 children waiting for a Big Brother or Sister in the program, so now is the time to think about how you could put a little sparkle into the life of a child! If you are interested in becoming a mentor in our community-based program, call 937-547-9622 or 937-492-7611 for more information.