Carrying donuts, apple fritters, and treat bags, BBBS Cherokee County staff got busy in September enlisting high school students to mentor elementary school kids. Our High School Bigs program is big there – and in several mountain counties where an exciting program expansion is going on.
As of mid-October, nearly three dozen high school students in Cherokee County had signed up. One of them is Harper, Big Brother to Mason.
“I visit my Little Brother weekly and help guide him through life’s challenges by just being a dependable face,” Harper said. “We challenge each other with card games, board games, sports, and – my favorite – making paper airplanes. Although we have a lot of fun, we also work on schoolwork. High School Bigs like myself find gratification in helping our community by mentoring young students.”
High schoolers meet with their Littles one hour a week at the Little’s school for scholastic help. BBBS wants matches to last a couple of years.
“High school students have so much to offer elementary-age students and also benefit a great deal themselves,” said Jamye Davis, BBBSWNC Executive VP of Programming. “They learn to be a role model, to teach new skills to the youth, to practice healthy relationship skills, and they gain a meaningful experience to note on college applications and job applications.”
The program is expanding into other BBBSWNC counties as well. High School Bigs have been signed up in Burke, Yancey, and Jackson counties. The initiative is on track to resume in Buncombe County and to begin in Clay, Henderson, Macon, Swain and Yancey counties, as well as the Qualla Boundary, home of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.