A youngster with a mentor is not alone

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January is National Mentoring Month. Big Brothers & Sisters of Portage County is able to continue to help the children in our community only because the adults in our community continue to volunteer as mentors. Thank you to everyone who served as one of our "Bigs" in 2013.

Who are these Superstars of Portage County? They are grandparents and college students, newlyweds and empty-nesters, people raising their own children and people who won't have children. They are football coaches, business people, teachers, construction workers, attorneys, servers, technology workers and retired folks. They enjoy cooking, fishing, board games, sports, movies, crafts, hiking and biking.

What they have in common is the desire to help a child. Despite all of their other responsibilities they volunteer to spend 12 hours a month with a child who needs them; needs them to help with homework, show up at their ball game, teach them a skill or just give them the chance to be a child for a few hours. A child who needs them to be someone they can talk to, share with, learn from and trust.

The number of ways our "Bigs" help our "Littles" is as varied as the people who are involved in our program.

According to Mentoring.org, "at its most basic level, mentoring helps because it guarantees a young person that there is someone who cares about them. A child is not alone in dealing with day-to-day challenges."

To all of our mentors, our "Bigs," thank you for being someone who cares and for taking action. I am privileged to work with you.

Andrea Neidert, Program Director, Big Brothers & Sisters of Portage County

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