Saint Francis Seraph School in Over-the-Rhine
is one of Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) site-based programs. It means
the volunteers come in once a week to have lunch with their "little
brother or sister," but that short visit can mean a lot to a child.
Nine-year-old Sidni Oyakhari has been paired
with her 'big sister' Erin Sunderman. They get together every Friday to hang
out, play games and just talk.
"She's nice and she spends a lot of time
with me. She tells me about her life, and I tell her about
mine," Sidni explained.
Sunderman has three children of her own, but
she says she values her time with Sidni.
"We've built a relationship, and I find
it very rewarding. She has somebody she can talk to that's not a teacher and
not a parent. She can tell me about anything she wants and build that trust
relationship, and I like being able to be there for her," Sunderman said.
BBBS Vice President of Programs Donna
Hermann-Vogel says the friendship between the kids and their mentors are
"There's often a very strong bond that
forms between the big and the little. We'll have matches that have been
together for years and years, and they'll become part of one another's
family," Hermann-Vogel explained.
There are hundreds of kids on the waiting
list for a mentor, so big brothers like Tim Klauke are in high demand.
"We do things. It's fun. Makes me feel
good. When I leave here I feel good like I've helped somebody out," Klauke
said of his little brother in the program.
There are several site-based programs like
these all across the Cincinnati area, which makes it convenient. Volunteers
will tell you that a little bit of time goes a long way.
Organizers say there are so many boys on the
waiting list for a big brother, they've put a freeze on applications.
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725 S. Floyd Street
Louisville, KY 40203