Mentoring program, Big Brothers/Big Sisters launches “Better Together” campaign

Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Black Hills is kicking off an awareness and fundraising campaign that was developed to counter the challenges the agency is experiencing due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

RAPID CITY, S.D. — The mentoring program, “Big Brothers Big Sisters” has been in the Black Hills community for almost 60 years.

In that time, its goal has been to make meaningful, monitored matches between adult volunteers (“Bigs”) and children (“Littles”).

Big Brothers/Big Sisters Logo

Big Brothers/Big Sisters Logo, Courtesy Facebook

The pandemic has affected their operations, both financially, and the youth they are trying to reach.

“They are more vulnerable to the negative impacts of this, you know the at-risk children that we are serving, so now more than ever, we need to reach them and we need help to do that,” said Savannah Seeger, the Development Director of Big Brothers/ Big Sisters. “So now we are calling on our community to help us spread our messaging and our mission and help us raise the money we need to help kids.”

South Dakota Youth Hunting Adventures

South Dakota Youth Hunting Adventures, courtesy Facebook

Fundraising events were canceled, leaving a hole of over $80,000. Seeger says every small donation helps, the monthly giving program is set up for as little as $5 a month. But if you can’t donate funds, then you can donate time as a BIG or share their mission on social media.

The campaign is called “Better Together.”

South Dakota Youth Hunting Adventures

South Dakota Youth Hunting Adventures, courtesy Facebook

“Individually we can’t do a whole lot, but when we all come together we are better off that way, ya know, our matches are better together,” Seeger said. “You have a child and a mentor and separately they are not this powerful force for change, but you put them together and this magic happens. And you see that in our community – you start pairing up people no matter what reason or purpose and we are better together.”

The community-based program and youth hunting program (SDYHA) are making a big impact on youth with meaningful experiences.

Match, courtesy Big Brothers Big Sisters, Facebook

Match spending time together, courtesy Big Brothers Big Sisters, Facebook

Brian Mueller, the Vice Chairman of the BB/BS Board has been involved as a mentor for about 12 years.

“There’s a lot of stresses, everyday stresses out there for young people, to be able to put them in a vehicle and drive them out into the woods and let them be present for that experience is pretty impactful,” Mueller said. “You see those stresses go away and they are able to focus on the little things, and themselves, and what they are thinking and have those one-on-one conversations is pretty important and is something these kids just don’t get a lot of exposure to, so there’s a lot of side benefits to this program.”

Mueller says the hunting program also helps to feed the children’s families. They host several activities to keep kids engaged in the outdoors. Contact the organization to volunteer or to enroll a child in the program.

There are always “Little” in waiting, so mentors are always needed.

Seeger says the organization had their very first virtual match this year, many matches have continued meeting while taking proper precautions.

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Categories: Coronavirus, Local News, South Dakota News