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Ennis Daily News

Kiwanis hears from rep for Big Brothers, Big Sisters

Regional director for national mentoring group visits club
Diana Phillips of Big Brothers and Big Sisters of North Texas urged Ennis Kiwanis Club members to fill out applications Thursday to be a volunteer for her organization.
Phillips is Regional Executive Director for Big Brothers and Big Sisters and received an outstanding leader award in 2003 from that agency.
With about 1,000 children in Ennis who could use a mentor in their lives Phillips thinks the need for volunteers is great.
“This is a preventative measure to keep these kids out of trouble,” Phillips said. “It’s about having fun. It’s not tutoring. It’s being a constant and consistent friend.”
The Big Brothers and Big Sisters plan has a community-based program and a school-based program. The community-based program asks a Big to spend two times a month with the Little, incorporating the child into your schedule whether that is running errands, playing sports or video games, seeing a movie or going out to eat. The school-based program requires a Big eat lunch once a week with the child at their school.
“It makes a huge difference in the child’s life,” Phillips said of the two programs. “We just don’t realize the impact we have in their lives just by being a friend.”
Although the personal impact the Big Brothers and Big Sisters organization has isn’t always noticed, Phillips said children who have a Big in their life are 52 percent less likely to use drugs and alcohol and the children who partake in the school-based program are 20 percent more likely to graduate.
Volunteers interested in becoming a Big Brother or Big Sister can fill out an application that takes less than five minutes to finish. A background check and references are checked with an in-person interview following. A match support specialist finds a matching Big and Little which then result in the two meeting. Those interested in becoming a Big are asked to stick with the program for at least one year, according to Phillips.
“I promise every Big gets as much out of this as every Little,” Phillips said. “It will have an impact in your life.”
Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Ennis are currently accepting children on their waiting list for mentors from first through third grade and fourth, fifth and sixth graders will soon also be added.
Phillips said Big Brothers and Big Sisters served 8,500 children in her district last year.
“If you have it in your heart to volunteer, please fill out an application,” Phillips said.
The Ennis Kiwanis Club meets Thursday at noon at the Odd Fellow and Rebekah Retirement Center.

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Posted by on Mar 31 2008. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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