Marianna Davis was a Big Sister when she was in college. Although she is no longer in the program, she still volunteers her time with children and says her time as a Big Sister was enjoyable.
“I don’t need to get a pat on the back for spending my time with the kids,” says Davis. “It’s the smile from the kids that makes me happy.”
Davis says she thinks more people should donate time with these children because they need someone.
“These kids don’t have a whole lot,” she says.
Davis, who had to move due to a job transfer, says leaving a child is hard to deal with, but she always keeps in touch with her “little sisters”, many of whom lack a role model at home.
Most of the children come from single parent homes or homes in which the other parent is absent due to incarceration, hospitalization or military service. The purpose of a Big Brother or Big Sister? Not to play Santa Claus, but to provide the children with someone who is willing to lend an ear and talk to them. Spending time with these children is valuable.
No matter the child’s economic background, the Big Brothers/Sisters program is good for children experiencing hardship. One former volunteer expressed her surprise when she took her “little sister” to an amusement park and learned that she’d never had a candy apple.
The Big Brothers/Big Sisters organization originated over 100 years ago when a New York City man noticed children in and out of juvenile court and formed the sister part of the organization. An Ohio man who noticed children rummaging through garbage felt these children needed role models and friendship, therefore, becoming the first Big Brother. The two organizations joined in 1977. Since then, there have been over 500 more of these organizations developed throughout the U.S. in all 50 states and 12 countries throughout the world.
According to the Big Brothers/Big Sisters website:
83% of former Littles surveyed agree that their Big instilled values and principles that have guided them through life
46% less likely to begin using illegal drugs
27% less likely to begin using alcohol
52% less likely to skip school
No fee is required to volunteer or the child. It is recommended that activities be free or inexpensive. To find out more how to be a Big Brother or Big Sister: