DANVILLE — Big Brothers Big Sisters of Vermilion County has plenty of "littles."
But the organization is in need of "bigs": volunteers who can mentor area youth, ages 6 to 13.
"We need mentors more than ever before," Executive Director Rose Henton said, adding the organization had nearly 200 traditional and school-based matches this past school year, but there are usually 100 youth on the waiting list for a mentor.
"That's because we don't take any more than 100," she said, adding the need is probably greater.
"We have so many children who need assistance, whether it's school assistance or someone to talk to," Henton continued, adding the organization is the only one-to-one youth mentoring agency in the county. And "its success depends partly on having great volunteers."
Mentors must be at least 16 years old. "There's no top number," she said, "We've had mentors who were 90 years old."
All mentors must pass background and reference checks. They must also undergo training, which the organization provides.
Once mentors are matched with a little brother or sister, they're asked to spend one hour a week or several hours a month with them. Even though the agency doesn't match youth who are older than 13, Henton said, some mentoring relationships last until the "littles" are 18 years old.
Henton said summer is a great time to start mentoring.
"We have such a fantastic community, and there are so many free things to do," she said. "Our parks. We get tickets to the Danville Dans games. There are always different activities going on."
People can also sign up to become school-based mentors, which will begin once school gets started. Those mentors visit their "little" at their school to help them with their homework and do other activities.
For information, call Big Brothers Big Sisters at 446-6601 or email Henton at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"If you have been thinking about becoming a mentor, now is the perfect time," Henton said.