If an hour of time each week could dramatically impact the life of a child in a positive way, would you give it?

“It doesn’t seem like 4 hours a month could make a big difference, but it does,” said Beverly Pearch, President & CEO at Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Central Ohio. “All we ask of our Bigs (adult mentors) is that they devote 4 hours a month to a Little (child in the program) who could benefit from having a positive role model in their life.” 

Right now, however, there are more children on the waitlist than adults available to volunteer.

“We have 36 children on our waitlist,” she said. “We would love to be able to match these children with role models in our community.”

If an hour of time each week could dramatically impact the life of a child in a positive way, would you give it?

To help spread the word about the program and the kids who are waiting, BBBSECO has earmarked July as the month for its Match Madness Campaign. “The goal is to match 15 waiting Littles with adults,” she said.

BBBSECO is hosting a Lunch for Little Food Truck event on Monday, July 25 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the headquarters at 1260 Monroe St. in New Philadelphia to help promote Match Madness. During the event, food trucks will be set up in the parking lot, and a portion of proceeds from lunch purchases will go toward supporting BBBSECO’s mission of leaving no child behind. Staff will be on hand to answer questions and help prospective Bigs get started.

Pearch said Bigs in the program don’t need to have any special education, talents or be of a certain age. They just need to possess the desire to make a difference in the life of a child.

“Our volunteers include people who have grown children, who’ve never had children, college students, and senior citizens. You just have to be 18 years of age,” Pearch explained. “Anyone with a desire to help a child who might benefit from a bond created over walks, talks, hiking, biking, volunteering, board games or any other child-friendly pursuit is a good fit. And all mentors have free access to the YMCA to spend time with their Littles.”

The goal, she said, is to help a child reach his/her full potential. The age range for most Littles is 7-14, a particularly sensitive time in the emotional growth of a child. Imagine the impact you could make by helping to end the wait for one of the children currently without a mentor in the program.

“All matches are assigned a trained mentoring specialist from Big Brothers Big Sisters to support both the Big and the Little throughout the life of the match. We are always here to support our volunteers,” Pearch said.

Pearch said it’s a misconception that the children served by BBBSECO are all troubled. “We serve kids from one-parent families, kids who are socially shy, children who are struggling academically or kids who may be living with a family member instead of a parent. Every child can use a positive role model in their life,” she said.

As a nonprofit organization, Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Central Ohio relies partly on the generosity of donors to help keep things running and support programming. So even if you don’t have the time available to participate in helping to shape the life of a child, your financial resources are just as valuable.

You can visit the Big Brothers Big Sisters website, Bigs4Kids.com, and click on the Donate Now button to generously offer your financial support. You also can make a donation to the program in the form of event tickets, school supplies, gift cards, gas cards, and more. Your contribution will directly impact the children Big Brothers Big Sisters serves in Carroll and Tuscarawas counties.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Central Ohio is located at 1260 Monroe St. NW in New Philadelphia. The phone number is 330-339-6916, and the website is Bigs4Kids.com. Office hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. or by appointment.