Big Brothers Big Sisters was formed more than 100 years ago in 1904 as a means to pair a child with an adult mentor. Since its formation, the not-for-profit organization has been supported by Presidents, and embraced by communities large and small across the country.
Locally, the organization was formed in 1990 when Lisa Bare took the helm. The Rush County chapter has had four directors; Bare, Nicole Culley, Tom Runnebohm and current director Elizabeth Heimsoth.
Through the years and with guidance and leadership, BBBS has successfully paired a number of area youth with an adult mentor.
Adult volunteers committed to making a positive difference in a “Little’s’” life can have a long lasting impact on both of the individuals lives. For a number of years, during the school year, the “lunch buddy” program at Rushville Elementary School West and Milroy, have been well received. Once a week, a mentor meets their “Little” counterpart at school for lunch. The time together is used to talk, help with homework if needed or play games if time allows.
Statistically a national study has found that youngsters paired with a “Big” are 52 percent less likely to skip school, thus increasing the educational process.
Essentially, the most important aspect of a match between a “Big” and a “Little” is to allow the “Little” to be a part of the “Big’s” life; through shared and common interest.
During the past 24 years, Rush County has realized more than 100 traditional matches: adult volunteer (at least 18 years of age) paired as a role model and friend to a “Little” with a commitment of a minimum of six hours a month.
There are a number of other ways those in the community can volunteer:
- Couples match (similar to traditional match, with couples sharing the experience).
- High School Big: A 17-year-old high school student meets with a “Little” twice monthly.