Archive for Wednesday, November 13, 2002

Big Brothers Big Sisters hopes to start new programs

November 13, 2002

Jaimie Duguid hopes the changes being made to Baldwin's Big Brothers Big Sisters program makes it more of a community organization than what it has been.

"I think Baldwin could really benefit from it because there are not other programs like it available," she said.

Duguid, Baldwin's new case manager for Big Brothers Big Sisters, is hoping to see the local organization in better standings with the community after what's been a rocky past two years.

"There's been a lot of turnover (of case managers) in the past two years," she said.

The recent administrative instability, and lack of an office in Baldwin, has not made the program as successful as what Big Brothers Big Sisters would like, but she said that should change in the near future.

Duguid, a 2001 Baker University graduate, said her familiarity and love of Baldwin should be an advantage in making the needed improvements, which includes getting a local office.

"I've been singing Baldwin's praises since I got to Big Brothers Big Sisters" she said. "I'm going to be very active in Baldwin. I want to start getting the Baker professors and students involved and getting more businesses involved."

Big Brothers Big Sisters is a one-on-one mentoring program for children ages 5 to 17 years old. Adult volunteers are paired with children and spend three to four hours a week together.

"We try to create a special friendship for every child referred to us," said Sarah Randolph, resource development director for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Douglas County. "The whole idea is not only to give them a mentor, but give them the support to make better choices when they are growing up."

One of the first changes in Baldwin's mentoring program will be the addition of the Bigs in Schools, which will be in place beginning in January.

Bigs in Schools pairs children with mentors during the school day for one hour a week.

"This offers people a chance to mentor without the three to four hour time commitment," Duguid said. "It works well for professionals, college students and elderly people."

Other mentoring programs are also available. She said besides the standard core program, Bigs for a Day is also a mentoring option.

"Any group or association can do activities for kids for a day," she said.

Quarterly activities, ranging from attending football games to having holiday parties, will also be planned for program participants, she said.

Currently, there are five active mentoring matches in Baldwin's Big Brothers Big Sisters, and Duguid said she would like to see that number increase.

"Any child who needs a friend can benefit from this. I think this community has a lot to offer," she said. "I think the adults in the community have a lot to offer to the children and both could benefit."

Those interested in becoming a Big Brothers Big Sisters mentor or anyone who knows a child who would benefit from the program can call Duguid at 594-2594 or e-mail jduguid@mentoringmagic.org.

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