2016-02-09 / Front Page

Big Brothers Big Sisters Names Samantha Burke ‘Big Of The Year’

Staff Report

Big Sister Samantha Burke (left) and Little Sister Micaela. (Courtesy Photo) Big Sister Samantha Burke (left) and Little Sister Micaela. (Courtesy Photo) Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) of South Central Indiana recently recognized Samantha Burke as its 2016 Owen County “Big of the Year.”

Each year this award is presented to exemplary volunteer mentors who have made a significant and noticeable impact on their mentee, and demonstrate excellence in their representation of Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Central Indiana.

Burke is a math teacher at Greencastle High School and has been a Big for two and a half years. She tutors her Little in math and the two completed a 5K together last year.

January was National Mentoring Month. Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Central Indiana celebrates all of the area Bigs this month as the work would not be possible without the commitment and passion that the mentors put into the relationships with their Littles. With a 43-year presence in the community, Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Central Indiana has impacted more than 11,000 local children and fostered more than 11,000 match relationships.

The month of February marks the 15th anniversary of BBBS in Owen County.

“Fifteen years ago, a group of caring Owen County residents helped to Start Something special, a Big Brother Big Sister agency that serves Owen County youth. Together Owen and Monroe Counties created Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Central Indiana (BBBSSCI),” Executive Director Mark Voland said. “During the past fifteen years BBBSSCI has served over 500 youth in Owen County ages 6-17. The need for youth that want and need our service has not decreased. In fact, the need for mentors (Bigs) has increased. Currently there are 16 youths waiting for a Big Brother or Big Sister and there are many more that would like to join our wait list!

“Big Brothers Big Sisters programs work and the relationship between a caring adult and youth (Little) can last a lifetime. In the past two years BBBSSCI has had 10 Littles graduate from high school. Nine are attending college and one is in the United States Army. When at-risk youth have mentors, they are 55 percent more likely to enroll in college, more than twice as likely to hold leadership positions in high school, and 78 percent more likely to volunteer in their community.”

Big Brothers Big Sisters will host its 15th birthday party on Thursday, February 11 at 5:30 p.m. at the Spencer United Methodist Church’s In God’s Arms (IGA) fellowship hall.

“This will be a great opportunity to hear more about our programs,” Voland explained. “We are committed to reach more children in Owen County. Fifteen years ago BBBSSCI began and the future is bright. The whole community is invited to the birthday party. We hope to reconnect with friends from the past and develop new relationships for the future. Let’s all start something on February 11th.”

To learn more about becoming a mentor at Big Brothers Big Sisters visit www.bigsindiana.org, email bbbs@bigsindiana.org, or call 812-334-2828, extension 221.

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