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Big Brothers, Sisters canvass campus for student volunteers

By Victoria Staples
On April 19, 2011

Everyone has had someone that he or she looked up to for advice given and time spent.

Why not do the same thing for someone else?

The Big Brothers Big Sisters Services, Inc. of Winston-Salem is looking for college students to volunteer.

Winston-Salem's BBBS agency has been open since 1977 and serves more than 600 children in the Forsyth and Davie County areas annually.

"Our goal is to get 20-30 student volunteers from each campus," said Heather Bolt, development coordinator of Big Brothers Big Sisters Services, Inc.

Bolt said there are 11 Winston-Salem State student volunteers; 30 student volunteers from Wake Forest University; two student volunteers from Salem College; and one student volunteer from NC School of the Arts.

A volunteer matched with a child [a ‘Little'] is identified as a ‘Big.'

One hundred children between the ages of 6-13 years are on the waiting list for a ‘Big.'

"Our greatest need is for male volunteers," Bolt said.

"Over half of the kids waiting are male."

Volunteers must commit to spend time with their ‘Little' once a week for at least one year. The time and day is flexible for the convenience of the ‘Big' and ‘Little.'

The program offers short and long-term volunteering opportunities to students: the Community-Based Program; the Teen Mother Program; the Site-Based Program and mentoring children of prisoners.

Volunteers in the Community-Based Program take their ‘Little' to activities or events like a park visit, skating or sporting event.

A ‘Big' in the Teen Mother Program mentors and supports a teen mother.

Mentoring children of prisoners is the equivalent of the Community-Based Program. Volunteers in the Site-Based Program spend time with their ‘Little' at the child's school.

According to the BBBS website, each potential volunteer is screened, trained and supported.

Volunteers are responsible for and asked to determine costs of all activities between the ‘Big' and ‘Little.'

Group volunteering opportunities are available as well. Organizations can host an activity for wait-listed children. Additionally, organizations can invite a BBBS staff member to speak about the volunteering opportunities.

"I'm always willing to speak to the different groups on campus," Bolt said.

BBBS also offers internships during the academic year for college students.

"Usually these internships are paid by Federal Work Study from the students' school or are unpaid," Bolt said.

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