Big Brothers Big Sisters recruiting in Waupaca
By Angie Landsverk
Applications are continuing to be accepted for the site-based Big Brothers Big Sisters program that is beginning this fall at the Waupaca Recreation Center.
“We have about 10 mentors set up. Our goal is 20 mentors,” said Andrew Whitman, the city’s recreation programmer.
He said seven children are signed up to be Littles.
“So, we’re also looking for more children who may need some mentoring,” Whitman said. “Generally, parents or grandparents want them to be involved in a mentorship program.”
The city’s Parks and Recreation Department is working with Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Fox Valley Region and ThedaCare’s Waupaca Community Health Action Team to start the program to coincide with the new school year.
In a site-based mentoring program, volunteers visit a site, where they are paired with a student on a one-to-one basis.
In this case, the adults (Bigs) and students (Littles) participating in this site-based program will meet once a week for about an hour, at the recreation center.
Each Big and Little will decide when they want to meet there. They may meet after school, in the evening, or on the weekend.
They will have access to the entire center, including the gyms, kitchen, computers and pool table.
Whitman said they will be able to cook, do craft projects, play pool and other games or sit and talk, which is something children often need.
The reason the department is offering the recreation center for the site is to make it easier for those who are not sure what activities they would do together, he said.
The average length of site-based matches is 25 months.
While the focus is on establishing the site-based program, those interested in being mentors do have the ability to choose between the site-based and community-based programs, Whitman said.
In the Big Brothers Big Sisters community-based program, the Bigs and Littles also meet on a weekly basis. They might go for a walk, see a movie or go fishing.
Whitman said there are already between 15 and 18 community-based mentors in Waupaca.
“It has been going on around here, and it is very beneficial for both parties involved,” he said of the Big Brothers Big Sisters program.
Mentoring improves parental trust, lowers truancy rates, decreases or avoids risky behaviors, lowers depression and increases social acceptance.
Children who are matched are more likely to hold leadership positions in organizations.
Whitman said it would be nice if people signed up to be involved before the school year begins.
The process includes an application, interview, background check, match and meeting.
People may visit www.bbbsfvr.org to apply to be Bigs or to sign their children up to be Littles.