Wanted: Little Brothers and Sisters

Mar 19, 2012

Big Brothers Big Sisters is looking for more "Little" brothers and sisters. Due to successful volunteer recruiting of "Bigs" in the area, the Pittsburgh non-profit is now seeking more children in need of mentors.

Jan Glick, CEO of the Greater Pittsburgh arm of Big Brothers Big Sisters, explains why the tables have turned.

"I think what has happened is that there has been a perception in the community, which was true, that we have a very long waiting list," Glick said. "People with children, perhaps, were hesitant to make a referral of their children because they felt that there was this incredibly long waiting list."

She says that they want to serve children who really need a mentor based on life circumstances. The referral can come from a parent, guardian, or school if the child is between the ages 6 and 13. Glick says that there are many circumstances in which a child is nominated, whether it's a single parent who recognizes that they cannot dedicate enough time to their child or a teacher who thinks a child would be a good candidate.

"It's not being a parent replacement," Glick said. "It's being a mentor; it's being a friend."

Glick says they do have children on the list, but they want to be very conscious of the matches they make.

"We want to have the right Little for the right Big," she said.

Glick says each match costs about $1,000 a year because a Match Support Specialist works with the mentor, the child, and the parent or guardian to ensure safety and compatibility. To raise money, they hold fundraisers throughout the year. March, Glick explains, is "Bowl for Kids' Sake" month.