GREENVILLE — To show its thanks for the many people who contribute their time and resources to helping kids, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Shelby and Darke County held a volunteer appreciation dinner at JT’s Brew & Grill in Greenville Thursday evening.
The dinner was scheduled for January, which also happens to be National Mentoring Month.
“Big Brothers Big Sisters would not exist without you guys,” said Jenny Bruns, executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Shelby and Darke County. “You are the sole reason that Big Brothers Big Sisters is around.”
“Because of what you give, we were able to serve more than 300 youths here in Darke County through our program,” she added.
“We have 20 kids right now in Darke County, waiting for a Big Brother or Big Sister. The need will always be there and that’s why we appreciate you so much,” Bruns added.
Kelly Harrison, prevention specialist with Darke County Recovery and Wellness, also spoke to the group, highlighting the importance of the volunteers’ work with “at-risk” youths.
“What resonated with me, tremendously, is sometimes these kids are not getting any basic information on how to bake the cookies, or how to talk to somebody in a job interview, to communicate with people,” she said. “It’s those skills that you all have, basic life skills, basic social skills, that just by your presence of being around these children, they’re picking up things from you all the time.”
“You guys are so important to helping our youth,” she added. “Every moment that you spend with these kids is golden. Not just for them, not just for their parents, but for our whole community.”
Two volunteers at the dinner, Jamie Best, of New Madison, and Sara Morrow, of Troy, are sharing their time with two siblings — a brother, Drayden, 12, and his sister, Taylor, 10.
Best has introduced Drayden to a wide range of outdoor activities, including hunting, trapping, driving a tractor, wood splitting, and even butchering chickens.
“I didn’t force him to do it, but he learned how to pull feathers and those sorts of things,” said Best. “He really picks up on things quickly. He’s a fast learner.”
Morrow said her activities with her little sister more often take place indoors.
“We’ll go out shopping, doing fingernail painting, coloring, drawing pictures, watching movies,” she said.
Best said before he got involved, he didn’t realize just how many children need mentoring.
“I decided to get involved and to me it’s an awesome program,” he said.
“I’d like to see Drayden be able to take away from it the things that I’m teaching him, and hopefully I’m teaching him the right way to live. I want him to be a good person. Maybe someday in his life he’ll be able to give back to this program,” Best added.
For information on how to become a Big Brother or Big Sister, contact the organization by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 937-492-7611 or 937-547-9622.
The writer may be reached at 937-569-4314. Join the conversation and get updates on Facebook search Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com
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