Big Brothers - Big Sisters of Siouxland celebrate National Mentoring Month
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) -
Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Siouxland helps out hundreds of children everyday by pairing up a "big" with a "little" as they support each other.
With January being National Mentoring Month, the organization is paying tribute to its volunteers and supporters.
According to studies released by the organization children enrolled in the program are 46% less likely to begin using drugs and 27% less likely to use alcohol.
They are also 52% less likely to skip school.
Life has gotten a bit brighter for Heavenleigh Pettiford.
Allison Kjar, a first time big sister, has been mentoring Pettiford since November.
"I brought her home to my house and hung out with my sisters, my dad and his girlfriend, just to get the family feel," said Allison Kjar, Big Sister.
"It feels good because you have somebody to talk to and like somebody's there when you have a problem or something and just want to talk," said Heavenleigh Pettiford, Little Sister.
A freshman at Morningside College, Kjar signed on to be a big sister after seeing it at school.
"There was an activities fair at Morningside. They were there and I heard about it before and I grew up with 3 sister of my own and now that we're all grown I guess it was a good opportunity to get out there and be a big sister again," said Kjar.
Kjar and Pettiford meet up several times a month.
"There was time in my life where I needed that extra person to talk to and the fact that I am a little girl's special bond or someone else to talk to feels great," said Kjar.
"I got to pick out the movie and I got to pick out where we went to eat at the mall," said Pettiford.
Or get their nails painted.
"One day she asked me what I like to do and I said 'get our nails done and stuff like that'," said Pettiford.
"You don't have to go out of your way to do something new. Allison was coming to get her nails done today, why not have her little sister just come along with her. It's a great way to spend a cold Sunday," said Jill Colling President and CEO of Big Brothers and Big Sister of Siouxland.
"If I'm happy with my life, why hesitate and hold back to make somebody else's life happy and the fact that she smiles when she's with me and I smile when I'm with her makes it a perfect match," said Kjar.
Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Siouxland give support to almost 500 children.
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The Obama administration is ramping up its response to West Africa's Ebola crisis, preparing to assign 3,000 U.S. military personnel to the afflicted region to supply medical and logistical support to overwhelmed local health care systems and to boost the number of beds needed to isolate and treat victims of the epidemic. More >>
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