Thursday, April 25, 2013

High School Volunteer Mentors Continue to make a Big Impact on area youth.

The picture shows High School volunteer Big Sister, Rachael Ahrns helping her little Alexander Dunbar explain to his group of peers what makes him “Unique” at a recent after school site at Longfellow. Peer sharing and group activities are a big part of the after school programming provided by Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Shelby and Darke County is nearing the end of our after school programming for the 2012-2013 academic year. The Buddies program is a nine-month commitment where high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors volunteer to work with and mentor elementary aged children two times per month. During these meetings the high school students, under the supervision of Big Brothers Big Sisters staff, work with one or two children on different educational and recreational activities. The program continues to promote social and educational enhancing activities, as well as personal safety.

Rachael Ahrns is a 17 year old student at Fort Loramie where she is a junior and is very active within her school. Still, she takes time to volunteer each month at Longfellow Elementary School. Rachael is the daughter of Amy and Vernon Ahrns. She is currently matched with 7 year old Alexander Dunbar, son of Eric and Rita Dunbar of Sidney. Rachael stated, “I got involved after someone from the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization came to speak to our school about the need for volunteers and I felt it would be a good program to volunteer my time with”. Alex also commented, “ I like this program and the fact that I get to stay after school and hang out with my friends”.

High school mentoring programs have become a widespread component of many nationally affiliated Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies. Studies prove that children from who spend time with a positive role model are more likely to become healthy, productive adults. The Big Buddies program has proven beneficial not only for the “Littles” but for the high school volunteers as well.

In addition to our after-school program, the agency has over 100 community-based matches throughout Shelby and Darke County. These matches meet together twice a month for outings which are planned around the volunteer’s schedule. The goal of the community-based program is to match a local child with an adult mentor, who can serve as a positive role model, and expose the child to enhancing and uplifting activities. There are still over 10 children waiting for a Big Brother or Sister in the program, so now is the time to think about how you could put a little magic into the life of a child! If you are interested in becoming a mentor in our High School Buddies program or the community-based program, please call 547-9622 or 492-7611 or logon to our website at for more information.

Big Brother Big Sisters of Shelby and Darke County is a United Way member service agency and an affiliate organization of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. The Big Buddies program was partially funded through several local grants such as Monarch Legacy Fund, Vectren, Harry Stephens Fund, Amie McClurkin Grant administered through the Hope Foundation, Cargill, Ruth and Emerson Booher Foundation and the DP&L Foundation If you would like more information about how to become a volunteer, you may visit the agency web site at or call the Sidney office at (937)492-7611 or the Greenville office at (937)547-9622.

Also coming this summer will once again be the Daffy Duck Derby and 5k Duck n Run/Walk scheduled for Thursday, June 20, 2013. You can purchase your duck tickets by contacting the agency. Duck adoptions sell for $5.00 per duck, or 6 for $25.00. The Grand prize for this years’ event will be a $1,000 shopping spree. There are many other great prizes. There are many options for area businesses to get involved as well. You can also log onto our website at for more information on the Duck Race and the 5k Run. The 5k Run/Walk is being held in conjunction with the Shelby County Tour and the Wayne Health Care 5k Challenge. Credit card purchase may be done on line or over the phone. This years’ goal is $25,000

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