Big Brothers Big Sisters needed in Miami County


By Eamon Baird

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TROY — Aliya, 13, and Ava, 12, are sisters living in Troy, and although they come from a large family, they are looking for a Big Sister to spend one-on-one time with.

Aliya enjoys shopping, roller coasters, and boba tea, while her sister Ava enjoys drawing, painting, and coloring.

Jaxon, 10, and Dayne, 12, are brothers who live in Piqua and enjoy sports. Both are seeking a new Big Brother after the previous one moved away.

Big Brothers Big Sisters is a nationwide non-profit organization that was introduced to the Miami Valley in 1958, and today, the organization serves over 524 families in the area. However, they are having trouble finding mentors for children in Miami County.

Anne Kane is Big Brothers Big Sisters event and communications coordinator for the Miami Valley and has been with the organization for the last two years.

“Miami County residents think we exclusively serve kids in Montgomery, which is not the case. It would definitely make a big difference on our end as we’re working to fight against the stigma that Big Brothers Big Sisters is just for the city of Dayton,” Kane said.

Kane added that the current wait list for potential little brothers in Miami County is extensive because of how the program operates.

“We only match one volunteer mentor with one child. This is due to the length of our program and how some of our matches can last an entire adolescence from ages 7 to 18. While this is in no way something we expect, we like to rule out the potential to ‘burn out’ by overburdening our volunteers,” Kane said.

Parents hesitant about having their child take part in Big Brothers Big Sisters can be assured that the program undergoes extensive background checks, including fingerprinting, a criminal record check, a sex offender registry check, a motor vehicle check and a reference check. The potential mentor will also have to sit through online training and an interview with a staff member.

“Big Brothers Big Sisters believes in the power of three. The big, the little, and the littles’ parent or guardian. The parent or guardian has a role to play from the beginning when the enrollment specialists choose the match to when the Big discusses the activities, they would like to try on their match outings,” Kane said.

If a potential match is found, then the potential mentor’s application will be assessed by the parents of the little brother or sister. Then, they will schedule a meeting between the mentor, the parent, and the potential little brother or sister with the enrollment specialist.

Anyone interested in helping Big Brothers Big Sisters outside the mentorship program can donate or become a business partner through their big benefits program.

Last month, Big Brothers Big Sisters held the 12th annual “Perfect Match Dinner” and raised $59,900, with all funds to support mentoring services of youth ages seven to 18 in Miami County. The dinner has generated over $350,000 since its inception.

Anyone in the Miami Valley who is interested in learning more about Big Brothers Big Sisters can visit the website for more information.

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