A recent awards ceremony and appreciation dinner for Big Brothers Big Sisters attracted community leaders, advocates and the children impacted by the mentorship program that positively influences Rim Country’s youth.
“I was pleased with the cross-section of the people that were there,” said Robert Henley, director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona in Payson.
Several representatives from Payson Unified School District attended, as well as members of the business community.
Mark Hansen won Big Brother of the Year, and Jil Coleman won Big Sister of the Year. Nick Goodman won the High School Big of the Year award. A “Big” is an adult who mentors a “Little,” or child.
Payson’s Big Brothers Big Sisters program serves about 75 children each year at any given time.
“A lot of times, people think of it as being a surrogate parent for lack of a better term, and that’s not at all what it is,” Henley said. “The primary role is to be a positive role model in a child’s life” — like a big brother or sister, even if the Big is an adult.
Two types of programs are available. The first is a community-based program where mentors and children hang out and decide their own activities. The second choice is site-based, where Bigs and Littles meet during lunch at school.
“We’re always looking for volunteers to be mentors,” Henley said. “And of course, we’re always looking for money to offset our expenditures.”
The next event, Bowl for Kids’ Sake, is Sunday, Aug. 23. Those interested can register at paysonbfks.kintera.org/bbbsaz, or by calling 928-468-8375.