While the determination behind many people’s New Year’s resolutions is slowly waning, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southeastern New Mexico is about to undertake its most ambitious resolution yet.
The agency’s resolution: to find suitable adult role models for at-risk area children and youth. Many have been waiting considerable time for a “big brother” or “big sister.”
BBBS plans to have a 100 Volunteers in 100 Days Campaign, from March 1 to June 8. The campaign’s purpose is to find more adults willing to become “bigs,” or mentors, to “littles,” children and youth who could benefit from a strong role model.
Although it’s headquartered in Roswell, BBBS seeks to add a significant number of eligible volunteers throughout its entire region, which includes all of Chaves, Curry, Roosevelt, Eddy, Lea and Lincoln counties, plus Mescalero.
All that’s needed to become a “big” is to invest some time with a child. In a community-based match, the “big” meets with his or her “little” twice a month at a safe place in the community. In a school-based match, a “big” meets with the “little” for an hour at school every week.
What’s more, a “big” does not necessarily have to be an individual. A couple or a family can also mentor a “little.”
The goal for 2013 is to create 156 new matches throughout the region. This is a challenge, because not all who sign up to be a “big” pass the program’s extensive background check, or meet the program’s other requirements. Still, 2013 is off to a good start for BBBS and its campaign. Its staff, including Match Support Specialist Stacy Heacox, has been finding ways to increase the volunteer base. For Heacox, this has meant travel, but her work has paid off — she said the agency is in the process of renewing its program in Lea County.
“Hobbs was moving fairly slow in the past,” Heacox said. The volunteer numbers in Hobbs got a nice boost when a former “big” expressed interest in rejoining the program. The former “big sister” shared the program with members of her Bible study, and nine of them signed up to begin the process of becoming a “big.”
Amanda Ware, chief operating officer for BBBS, said she wants to emulate and instill this sense of volunteerism across other counties in southeast New Mexico.
“That’s what we’re trying to do here with our whole campaign,” Ware said. “Reach out, target a specific group that would be interested in (volunteering).”
Heacox said one of the biggest challenges in looking for volunteers is finding people who want to spend time as a mentor to a teenaged male; many patiently wait on the agency’s waiting list.
“We’re still looking for a good few men,” Heacox said.
Also in an effort to reach out to more people in the community, the local BBBS office has its own Facebook page, easily accessible by searching for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southeastern New Mexico from Facebook, or from a link on the agency’s website, bbbsenm.org.
For more information about the 100 Volunteers in 100 Days Campaign, visit the BBBSSENM website, or call the agency’s regional office at 627-2227. They may also be emailed at info@bbbs senm.org.
BBBSSENM is an affiliate United Way agency.