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Big Brothers Big Sisters looking for matches

The first partnership between Terra Cotta Home and Outdoor Market and Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Troy was a huge success as a fundraiser and also spurred renewed interest in the program

Research on the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America programs point to the powerful, positive, lasting impact Bigs have on children’s lives.

Melinda Conner, Big Brothers Big Sister of Troy activities coordinator, said research shows that “Littles” are less likely to skip school, less likely to begin using illegal drugs and more likely to get along with their families and peers.

Terra Cotta bought into the program and gave its support to the local Big Brothers Big Sister program when the business presented Big and Little Gardens: An Outdoor Learning Adventure on April 4.

“The fundraiser was a great success and also spurred renewed interest in our Big Brothers Big Sisters program,” Conner said. “We appreciate the support of Terra Cotta and the opportunity to raise awareness of the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. We have a great need because we have more than 150 ‘Littles’ waiting for a match.”

The local Big Brothers Big Sisters program has 50 matches and those matches are “magic” for the kids that have a Big in their lives.

“Having a Big really makes a difference,” Conner said. “And we just want all of these other kids to have that someone special in their lives.”

The requirements to be a Big and the responsibilities are minimal.

“I like to say that a Big can be anywhere between the ages of 18 and 100,” Conner said, with a smile. “All you need to do is come by the office at 518 South Three Notch Street and fill out an application and present four personal references. We’ll follow up with an interview. For those who qualify, we’ll make the match by comparing the interests of the Bigs and Littles who are between the ages of five and 17.”

Bigs have a choice of participation in either the community-based or school based programs.

“In the school-based program, a Big pledges to spend an hour a week with his or her ‘Little’ at school,” Conner said. “The school-based program is for Troy Elementary students only. The Bigs that volunteer for the community-based program are asked to spend two hours a week with their Littles. We ask that the Bigs spend time with their Littles, not money. They can take them on walks, play ball with them or take them along when they do errands. What they do depends on their common interests.”

Those who would like to know more about becoming a Big Brother or a Big Sister are encouraged to stop by the Bigs office or call 566-2454.