Archive for Thursday, August 18, 2005

No small thing being a big

Big brothers big sisters searches for volunteers

August 18, 2005

The Rev. Glenn Weld is the type of man that likes to try something out before recommending it to his flock. Consider him a spiritual version of "Consumer Reports."
That's exactly what he did when the Douglas County chapter of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America Inc. asked to speak to his congregation at the Eudora Assembly of God.
"I wanted to make sure I felt comfortable with the program," Weld said. "I went through it and found out that there is a lot of work they do to check you out before they allow you to start working with one of the kids."
He went through the program and became a "big," spending time with a young boy named Ricky.
"I've been doing it I guess about a year and a half," Weld said. "I have a little I guy I see. I guess he's going to be in about third grade."
They meet weekly to play games, work on homework or to spend time together.
"We just have a good time together," Weld said.
Weld is one of the few big brothers currently in Eudora. The chapter has a waiting list of youngsters in town, and they are looking for new ways to promote the program.
"We're just making a particular effort in Eudora," said Dan Lassley resource development director for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Douglas County. "We do have a number of kids on the waiting list. We do know it's a growing community, and it's a community that wants to support its children."
The county offers multiple options to help people volunteer.
"We have two programs that we run," said program director Becki Carl Stutz. "One of them is called the community-based program, where a volunteer is matched with a "little" and spends three to four hours a week doing things around the community."
The other option, the focus of the local effort, helps the little brothers or sisters at school.
The organization has run this program for the last two years.
"All of these kids are just children who have needs in different areas but all have needs of an adult in their life to help support and care for them," Carl Stutz said.
It's in this mentoring program where Weld met Ricky.
"I always told Ricky, I said, 'You know I'm doing this because I care about you,'" Weld said. "'They're not paying me to do this. I care about who you are. I care about doing what I can to help you in life.'"
This is the same spirit Weld tries to bring to his congregation.
"I want people to know you can reach somebody. Everybody can do something," Weld said.
After his experience with Big Brothers Big Sisters, Weld invited its representatives to speak to his church members last Thursday.
"I've found it to be a good program, and enjoy doing it," Weld said. "It's a commitment to be going once a week."
It's a commitment that Big Brothers Big Sisters wants Eudora to make.
"The mentoring experience is just as rewarding for the adult as it is for the child," Lassley said.

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