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BBBS requests community support to help more kids beat the odds

In recognition of National Mentoring Month, Big Brothers Big Sisters is calling on not only volunteers, but donors as well, to provide support for children who need mentors.

BBBS is the nations largest donor-supported volunteer network of long-term mentors for youth, providing matching, screening and ongoing support for Bigs, Littles, and families. BBBS of Polk County is one of the networks nearly 400 agencies helping about 255,000 Littles primarily children of single, low-income and incarcerated parents succeed in and out of school.

National Mentoring Month is spearheaded by the Harvard Mentoring Project of the Harvard School of Public Health, MENTOR/National Mentoring Partnership, and the Corporation for National and Community Service. BBBS of America is a lead partner.

Our priority and what differentiates BBBS is our commitment to providing long-term mentoring, resulting in proven positive educational and social outcomes, improving kids chances to succeed, said Robin Myer, executive director of BBBS of Western North Carolina. Donors enable Big Brothers Big Sisters quality staff, backed by proven support systems and structures, to provide ongoing support for Littles, their families and Bigs, from before each match is made, throughout the course of the mentoring friendship.

Independent research confirms that Littles are more likely than their peers to have better school attendance and improvements in behavior avoiding violence and illegal activities and they are more likely to have stronger relationships at home and elsewhere.

Boys, particularly African-American and Hispanic children, disproportionately represent Littles ready to be matched with Bigs. This month, with emphasis on mentoring, the organization is expecting a surge in volunteers.

The hope of BBBS is that donations will come in as well, so that all Bigs and Littles who are ready to be matched can begin a long, successful mentoring match, supported by BBBS professionals who are committed to helping vulnerable children beat the odds.

Financial gifts, stocks, estate and other assets may also be contributed through an endowment fund established at the Polk County Community Foundation for BBBS. The organization depends on donations to help recruit volunteers and reach more children. Funding is used to conduct background checks on volunteers to ensure child safety; and provide ongoing support for children, families and volunteers to build and sustain long-lasting relationships.

Coming up in February, Bowl For Kids Sake is the organizations annual signature event. Area businesses are requested to provide sponsorships to cover the costs of the event. Then all of the pledges raised by teams of friends, club members, business associates, church members, and students, goes directly to fund the BBBS programs.

BBBS helps vulnerable children beat the odds. BBBS mentoring is proven to improve childrens odds for succeeding in school, behaving nonviolently, avoiding drugs and alcohol, and breaking negative cycles. Headquartered in Philadelphia and with nearly 400 agencies across the country, BBBS serves more than a quarter million children. BBBS of Polk County is a part of this strong network devoted to helping children reach their greatest potential. Learn how you can change how children grow up in locally by going to www.bbbswnc.org or calling 828-859-9230.