Big Brothers Big Sisters expands to meet growing need

(WISH Photo/Drew Blair)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – The largest youth mentoring organization in Indiana has introduced a new way to help eliminate some of its biggest need.

Options for adults interested in volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Indiana (BBBSCI) have expanded to include the “Big Friends” program.

For decades, BBBSCI volunteer mentors have been matched one-on-one with a same-gender child. Through “Big Friends,” pairs of friends, coworkers to family members are encouraged to partner to mentor a child.

“It was a great next step for us to be able to work with more kids in the community,” Jarod Wilson with BBBSCI said. “Sometimes it’s nice to just have that extra support of somebody else to kind of be a backup and you can play off each other.”

The idea was generated after receiving feedback from interested volunteers and the recent success of the “Big Couple” program which allows adults to sign up with their spouse, partner or significant other of two years.

Ryan and Rebecca Boyle of Indianapolis became mentors to a 9-year-old boy in May.

“We requested to have a younger ‘little’ so that we could hopefully be with him all the way through until he graduates high school,” Rebecca Boyle said of the relationship. “He adds just as much to our lives as we do to his, hopefully.”

The couple said they have enjoyed the time spent together as mentors and encourage others to take advantage of the added opportunity to help.

“Working together with someone in a mentoring role is an amazing opportunity. It takes, maybe, a little pressure off you if you’re intimidated by that prospect of being one-on-one,” Ryan Boyle said.

More than 600 boys and girls are currently on a waiting list to be matched with a mentor. For more information on volunteering for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Indiana, click here.

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