April 3, 2014

You can make a difference

The Daily Citizen

— Imagine being a child and not having a strong male presence in your life.

Imagine being a young woman and needing someone to help you navigate the ways of the world.

Now, imagine an organization that can provide adult mentors who can step in at trying times to help a youngster learn how to be a strong, confident, caring man, or show a young girl how to deal with the trying teenage years when other’s judgments might otherwise shatter her confidence.

Unfortunately, the first two situations are all too real.

But fortunately for this area, we don’t have to imagine such an organization, as Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Georgia Mountains is here to provide such mentors to those youngsters who need a helping hand, a smiling face, to help them on their way to adulthood.

The organization, which focuses on Whitfield, Murray and Gordon counties, rightly celebrated its 45th anniversary recently, and many were there to sing its praises. Beneficiaries spoke of their “Big” “saving” them from difficult circumstances, of changing their lives for the better. The words “amazing” and “awesome” were used.

Bigs can impact their “Littles” in a variety of ways. By just being a listener, giving the youth someone to talk to. By being a companion, taking the child to a sporting event or baseball practice or a concert. By providing a positive example for the younger person to emulate, or imparting valuable life lessons such as the difference between right and wrong or the importance of showing compassion.

One former Little described it this way at the celebration: “After the first couple of months, I realized the impact it was having on my life, in terms of school and my outlook. Good things started happening. It really made a difference.”

You too can make a difference. Big Brothers Big Sisters is in constant need of volunteers, as unfortunately in today’s society the need is great. Despite the many successes of the previous 45 years, “We need to be even stronger at 50,” said Scott Sandlin, Big Brothers Big Sisters vice president.

To learn more about volunteering, and to perhaps change the life for the better of a precious someone in our community, visit Big Brothers Big Sisters’ website at www.bbbsngm.org.