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Christmas wishes still unfulfilled

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Ellis County - We’ve all experienced it – that one item we were really hoping for but didn’t get under the tree for Christmas. Maybe it was something recent like that expensive perfume you refuse to buy for yourself or that new tool your wife felt like you really didn’t need but you knew just how much simpler life would be if you had that new gadget. 

Maybe it was something you were hoping for as a child and you remember to this day how disappointed you were when Santa didn’t bring it to you by Christmas morning. The disappointment of a child is something none of us want to inflict and will do all we can to make sure our own children have all their wishes fulfilled.

During this time of reflecting on years past and pondering on the changes we’d like to make going forward, think about the impact you can make for one of the 100+ children in Ellis County who have only asked for a friend and still wait for just the right person to say “Sure, I don’t mind spending a little time with a child who needs a friend” or “My wife and I are always out and about – we can certainly take a child with us even if we’re not doing anything special.” It really IS that simple. 

As we move into a new year, consider being a Big Brother or Sister as one of your New Year’s Resolutions. “So many folks just don’t realize how little it takes to leave a legacy” says Diana Phillips, regional executive director for Big Brothers Big Sisters. 

“I want to address a few concerns people have in hopes that they will take action toward becoming a mentor.” 

“With over 100 children waiting for a Big Brother or Sister in Red Oak, Midlothian and Waxahachie we can’t afford to let ‘someone else’ get involved – we all must take action in one way or another to impact the future of this community.”

Questions you might have about the Big Brothers Big Sisters program:

Q. How much time does it really take? 

A. For the school-based program you spend just one lunch period a week with your mentee – that’s a 30 minute timeframe. There are other programs that meet outside of the school setting a minimum of two times a month. The application process takes approximately 2 hours over a period of about 4-6 weeks and includes 10 minutes to complete an application, 45 minutes-1 hour for an online training completed at your convenience and a 1 hour in-person interview (again, at a time/place convenient for you) to get to know all about you so we can match you to just the right child. Big Brothers Big Sisters does require all mentors to stay in the life of their mentee for at least one calendar year as many of these children come from single-parent families so have already experienced someone dropping out of their life.

Q. Do I have a say in what type of child I’d like to be matched to? 

A. Most definitely! You can specify the age range, school or proximity to work/home, personality traits, etc. We want the match we make to be a good one that lasts. 

Q. How much is being a Big Brother or Sister going to cost me? 

A. There is no cost in signing up to be a “Big.” Any additional cost is really up to you but we do stress that you don’t be Santa Clause – we don’t want to set unrealistic expectations for any child. If you see your “Little” outside of school, you’ll have some gas expense for travel since you’ll pick up your mentee from their home and incorporate them into what you already have planned for the evening. Big Brothers Big Sisters receives many donations to area events that we pass along to our matches as well.

Q. Can I bring my own children along with me? 

A. Our traditional match is a Big Brother or Sister matched to a Little Brother or Sister but we do have Couple Matches and Family Matches. Anyone in the family that is 16 or older must go through the application process.

Q. I don’t have any special talents to offer a child and don’t know what I’d do with a child. Any suggestions? 

A. You don’t need any special talents – just be yourself – we all can do that! Mentors 16 to 116 yrs old have something to offer and that is friendship. We also introduce each match and provide fun activities to get to know each other. For those matches that meet outside of the school setting, we have numerous activities provided each month at little or no cost. 

Big Brothers Big Sisters invites individuals throughout Ellis County to fill that last Christmas wish for a child. Those wanting to volunteer to mentor or get their church or company involved may contact Big Brothers Big Sisters Regional Executive Director Diana Phillips at 972-573-2420 or dphillips@bbbstx.org. 

Big Brothers Big Sisters is a donor-supported volunteer organization that places caring adults in the lives of children in one-to-one mentoring relationships. 

Through the positive impact of those friendships, children with a Big Brother or Big Sister are more likely to graduate from high school and are less likely to begin using drugs, begin using alcohol or engage in negative conflict. For more information contact 888.887.BIGS or www.bbbstx.org.

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