Big need for mentors in NW Ohio - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Big need for mentors in NW Ohio

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A program that helps hundreds of children in our community every year needs your help. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwestern Ohio is launching a new campaign called "60 mentors in 60 days." There are about 250 children on a waiting list and without a boost in volunteers some of them will never have a chance to take part in the program.

11 year old Jacob Smith has been on the waiting list for two years. He has a list of some of the things he'd like to do when he gets a Big Brother, "Laser tag, video games, just do stuff that's fun and not be around my sisters all the time!"

Jacob's mom Deborah Gullett is a single parent who knows the benefits of the program first hand. She had a Big Sister when she was a girl, "It was an oasis in my life to have a Big Sister, a place to go with peace and quiet where you felt special. We're looking for someone to hang out with Jacob. He has no male figure in his life. Someone to do guy things with and teach him to be a young man."

AJ Carpenter has had a Big Brother for three years, "He is a very important person to me and I thank him for that. He's like family to you? He is family!"Mike Zerner is AJ's Big Brother. AJ is the third young man he's helped mentor in nearly 20 years of volunteering, "One little moment can set them on the right path. Everybody wants someone to love them. They are all my family, and I love them all. This is the best thing I've ever done."

There are a number of requirements to be a "Big." Among other things, you have to be at least 18 and be able to make a one year commitment to the program. They also do a background check and a home visit. Right now there are nearly 300 pairs of "Bigs and Littles" in Lucas, Wood and Ottawa counties, but once again there are 250 children on the waiting list.

Visit bbbsnwo.org to find out how you can help.

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