Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Lowcountry, a Charleston-based mentoring program that matches volunteers with children in need, is looking for more volunteers to serve their community as National Mentoring Month draws to a close.
The nonprofit that serves tri-county youth through professionally supported, one-on-one mentoring relationships said it has hundreds of potential “little ones” on the organization’s waiting list.
“Each year, hundreds of families ask us to place another caring adult on their child’s team, someone who will help them recognize and pursue their potential,” said the group’s president and CEO. , Merridith Crowe, in a press release. “We have the incredible honor of being experts in matchmaking for mentoring, and we need more adults to say ‘yes’ to have the backs of the young people of the Lowcountry.”
Crowe said the group worked hard to recruit men and especially men of color. And as the pandemic continues to linger, the need for these relationships has only grown. “We are serving more young people than ever before,” Crowe told the city paper. “The demand for our services has never been greater.”
But because relationships are often community-based, Crowe said, letting partners play games or take walks outside, they haven’t missed a beat during the pandemic.
“When I started last summer, George, [my Little Brother], was in the recreational basketball league,” Big Brother Jeff Mercer said. “I was going to training and I was going to games. It became an outing for me too.
Mercer said one of the biggest hurdles for potential volunteers is mental — fear of the scale of commitment. But, he says, it’s not as big as you might fear.
“It’s not as hard as you think,” he said. “Everyone’s schedule is busy, but you have room to make a difference. Every other Tuesday I go see George and leave straight from work, so it’s part of my routine. It makes my job easier. »
“We encourage our mentors to keep it simple,” Crowe added. “Do things you could already do. When I talk to the Little Brothers, they say: “My favorite moment is when we go shopping. It’s never about Disneyland. These children crave individual attention. It’s not fancy, it’s just simple.
The minimum for volunteers is a 12-month commitment, and mentors must see their mentees twice a month for four hours. Those interested in becoming a Big Brother or Big Sister can visit wedefendpotential.org.