Big Brothers Names New Director

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Big Brothers Big Sisters welcomed Robert Henley on board Sept. 8 as its new executive director.

One of his first goals as the organization's new director is work to recruit male mentors.

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Robert Henley

In the program, children are called "littles" and their adult mentors are called "bigs." Today, male "littles" in need of "bigs" far outnumber unmatched girls in the program.

"What I want men to think about is the times they spent with an older or younger brother growing up," Henley said. "That is really the type of relationship we are talking about in the (BBBS) program. It is a mentoring relationship."

Volunteers are needed as mentors in the community or the school-based programs.

Bigs in the community program spend time with their little doing things a few times a month like going to the park or the movies. During the school-based program, Bigs have lunch and hang out with his or her little at the program based at Julia Randall Elementary School.

"That is the cool part of Big Brothers -- one child helped does have a positive impact on the youth of our community," Henley said.

Henley first got to know the organization when he was a town councilor and the Town of Payson contributed $4,000 to the organization.

The direct impact of BBBS on youth and society is one of the reasons he applied for the director position in June.

Currently, 18 bigs are making an impact with littles in the Rim Country.

Henley's goal is for that number to double in the next six months.

Matches are currently handled out of the Phoenix office.

BBBS needs to find a part-time outreach specialist for the program here. That individual would enroll and assess volunteers and make appropriate matches of bigs with littles.

Speaking to local service organizations will be one of Henley's efforts to keep up community awareness and recruit new volunteers.

"I also want to focus on non-mentoring volunteers," he said. These adults could help with clothing collection and other fund-raising activities.

There are two blue bins for collecting clothes, one at Sawmill Crossing and one behind the Senior Circle building.

The clothing deposited needs to be laundered first but frays and small spots are okay as the clothes is not being resold as clothing. The used articles earn money for BBBS by being recycled into rags.

Volunteers are needed to check on the bins once a week and transport the clothing to the storage locker in town.

Monthly financial donations to BBBS by businesses or individuals is another form of fund-raising Henley wants to encourage. Funds raised in this manner would help keep the organization going through leaner months.

Henley can be contacted via e-mail at rhenley@bbbsaz.org or the phone is (928) 468-8375.

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