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Making a positive impact in a ‘Big’ way

By Maggie Ives
Special to The PREVIEW

Photo courtesy Maggie Ives Big Brothers Big Sisters is celebrating 30 years of mentoring in southwest Colorado during National Mentoring Month. “Big Brother” Nick and “Little Brother” Aidan made holiday decorations at their party in December.

Photo courtesy Maggie Ives
Big Brothers Big Sisters is celebrating 30 years of mentoring in southwest Colorado during National Mentoring Month. “Big Brother” Nick and “Little Brother” Aidan made holiday decorations at their party in December.

January is National Mentoring Month and we are celebrating 30 years of mentoring in Southwest Colorado.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Colorado started in 1984 in Durango and, during that period, we have served over 2,500 children. We would not have been able to accomplish this without the help from our amazing Big Brothers and Big Sisters who volunteer their time and share their lives and experiences with the children in our community. They are the true heroes of the organization. They truly make a difference.

I have asked a few of our Big Brothers and Big Sisters to share some of their mentoring experiences with you about how mentoring works. This is what they have to say:

“We’ve been with our Little for six years now and are so fortunate that we have had the opportunity to act as mentors to Jarrett, our wonderful little brother. Apprehensive at first, we have come to cherish our relationship with him and the time we are able to spend with him. He has added a whole different aspect to our lives that would be lacking without him. We thoroughly enjoy the various activities we do together and hope that he learns as much from us as we do from him. Looking forward to our continuing relationship,” said Jim and Melody Lesch.

“This is my second time being a Big Sister and it is just as rewarding. The desire stems from my love of children. My Littles will try anything. Tuna fish salad with capers and Kalamata olives? Sure. Help me introduce a new horse to mine? No problem. Sweep the mats in the barn; fill up the water bucket. She’ll do it. As a Big Sister I can share how I do things and get things done. I can teach the importance of finishing, being on time, cleaning up after yourself and more. It’s all done by example and it’s fun,” explained Beverly Compton.

“My experience as a ‘Big’, though short at about nine months, has been a positive one. We’ve done a lot of activities and had a lot of fun moments. Don’t get me wrong, I have had my share of challenges, but that was to be expected. My Little is a very sweet teenage girl. When we spend time together, at least once a week, we both seem to really enjoy it and we talk a lot. I have to say I am surprised that I am learning so much from her. I hope she is learning as much from me and the experience as I am,” shared Amie Lemley.

Photo courtesy Maggie Ives “Big Brother” Jerry and his “Little Brother” Jason work on craft projects at Big Brothers Big Sisters holiday party last month. Jerry was honored as “Big of the Year” for 2013 at the event.

Photo courtesy Maggie Ives
“Big Brother” Jerry and his “Little Brother” Jason work on craft projects at Big Brothers Big Sisters holiday party last month. Jerry was honored as “Big of the Year” for 2013 at the event.

“The mentoring experience isn’t easy but it’s rewarding. Mentors need to provide positive, instructive encouragement and help light different pathways for these young Pagosans. We all need that, but these kids need it even more. We are all busy, but it is rewarding to see a young man or women grow and set their sights on something positive. It’s more than that too; besides giving us hope for the future it’s helping to build a stronger community, if only one person at a time,” said Jerry Baker.

BBBS would like to honor all of the wonderful mentors who do so much to positively impact the lives of the children in our community. Thank you. You do make a difference.

For more information on mentoring, please contact Maggie at BBBS at 398-0007 or maggie@bbig.org.

This story was posted on January 16, 2014.