CATEGORY: Charities

AUTHOR: EILEEN

HED:Focus: Big Brothers/Big Sisters

By Eileen Bailey

Daily Journal

This is the fourth in a daily series of profiles of the United Way of Greater Lee County's 30 agencies.

Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Greater Lee County

- Year organized: 1990; United Way agency since 1990.

- People served: Lee County residents ages 6 to 16.

- Annual budget: $105,000

- United Way Contribution: $44,720.

- Director: Brenda Bridges.

- Purpose: "Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Greater Lee County is an organization of staff and volunteers which exists to meet the unique needs of at-risk youth from single-parent homes by providing positive adult role models through individually matched relationships that foster an improved sense of well-being.

"The children served are from Lee County and are between the ages of 6 and 16. Through the mentoring relationship, the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program happens within the child's natural environment - home, school and community - and then moves the child into expanded life experiences focusing on enhanced academics, relationship building and personal growth and development.

"The carefully screened volunteer meets with his/her 'match' on a regular basis, either in a community or school-based setting. Match commitments are made for a year's time and can be renewed. Matches are monitored and supported by agency staff.

"An individual case plan is developed and implemented for each child. Big Brothers/Big Sisters also offers a variety of workshops for volunteers and works with area organizations to provide activities free of charge for matches."

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