Big Brothers Big Sisters spreading throughout local school districts

By Ryne Turke on November 23, 2016 at 12:25pm

Big Brothers Big Sisters programs are spreading throughout school districts in Central Illinois.

Case Manager Abby Hilsabeck says schools have added the weekly mentoring program that matches high school students with elementary students.

The interactions include a range of activities, like homework help, playing board games and group activities.

“This is something that makes schools a positive environment for kids. Elementary school kids always look up to high schoolers. These high schoolers take time out of the days to give kids extra attention. It can be hard to be a young kid these days,” says Hilsabeck.

Programs are already up and running at Rushville, Virginia, Faith Lutheran in Jacksonville, Quincy, Pittsfield and Franklin.

North Greene Elementary Principal Jackie Kuchy explains how the Big Brothers Big Sisters program operates in her school.

“We make referrals for students to participate. Big Brothers Big Sisters came down to train 12 high school students to serve as bigs. Our after school program runs on Tuesday from 3:30 to 4:15 p.m.  The other layer is more of a standard Big Brothers Big Sisters system. We have adults in the community who have been trained and will eventually be paired with littles. We will have two layers of service going on,” says Kuchy.

Kuchy has received several phone calls from parents who want to add their children to the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. She says the 12 bigs and 14 littles have met a couple times this month, with each interaction gaining “more momentum”.

Anyone interested in helping out with Big Brothers Big Sisters is encouraged to call the office at 243-3821.