January is National Mentoring Month
Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Black Hills is a long-standing organization that matches children with mentors. They help children facing adversity reach their full potential through the relationships built in the program.
It may look like these two guys are just playing video games, but they are also building a relationship.
Derek Dahl, BIG Mentor, says, “The kids, it’s just another positive influence in their life, and it’s also just as beneficial for the parents and for the mentor.”
Derek and Sylus have been a match for over a year and have been on the move ever since — doing things like going fishing, swimming, bowling, riding bikes, ice skating and playing pool. During their weekly time together their favorite thing to do is eat dinner, talk and play cards.
Big Brothers Big Sisters matches up adults and kids with a personality profile, so the BIG and the LITTLE have similar interests so they can spend quality time together and enjoy each other’s company.
The children in the program benefit by having someone in their life, maybe someone to teach them some life skills or exposing them to things they might otherwise not be able to do or simply being another person in their corner.
Savannah Seeger, Big Brothers/Big Sister’s Developmental Director, says, “While it seems little in size, the impact that it is having on his life is huge, you know just showing up and being present and being there for them when they need it makes a huge impact on their life.”
Derek says his parents and grandparents served as great mentors for him, so he wanted to pass down that kind of impact to someone else and ended up gaining more than he expected.
Derek “I expected it to be just beneficial for the child, or the little, and realized it’s just as rewarding for me, that’s what I really gained out of it.”
And his little brother would Sylus is grateful for the time spent with his big bro.
Sylus, LITTLE Brothers, says, “He’s nice, his dog is cool. He’s very fun, he likes a lot of the same things I do.”
The matches made end up to be lifelong friendships and life changing for each pair.
Savannah says, “What we see is that there is a rise in self-confidence- they are more inclined to attend school their grades improve, they are less likely to participate in risky behaviors so across the board we just see this growth in them that they wouldn’t of had otherwise.”
Currently there are 43 kids waiting for a BIG match.
Click here to get information on mentoring with Big Brothers Big Sisters.