By Donnie Andrick
In the second year of Columbia College’s three-year partnership with youth mentoring organization Big Brothers Big Sisters, the college continues to host events and inspire children to have higher aspirations for their education, their relationships and themselves.
As a partner of Big Impact, the college donates resources to support the organization’s match system, which connects a youth member, the Little, with a volunteer mentor, the Big. The college hosts these match events on campus and has seen growth throughout the partnership. In the most recent event for the 12 Littles and 12 Bigs that attended, the science department faculty set up a rotation of science experiment stations.
“The Littles, with the help of their Bigs, participated in several experiment stations,” Assistant Director of Business Development Patty Anderson said. “After the experiments, everyone enjoyed dinner together and then made their own ice cream for dessert. It was really fun for the Littles to participate in both the experiments and ice cream making with their Bigs.”
Anderson worked closely with the science department faculty to plan the event. The events are hosted by a different academic department each time, which is a great way for the Littles to explore what opportunities there are for them at Columbia College. They are able to get excited about learning in a fun, conducive environment and can spend time strengthening their relationships with their Bigs, too.
“Big Brothers Big Sisters supports kids who are facing adversity, and education is a major piece of what they try to incorporate for these kids.” Ann Merrifield, director of Business Development said. “Columbia College is a great partner to encourage continuing education.”
As a partner with Big Brothers Big Sisters, Columbia College strongly encourages any faculty, staff or students to get involved with the organization. With over 100 Littles on the waiting list to be matched, there is often a shortage of Bigs. The organization only asks for one hour of commitment per week and provides an opportunity to get involved in the community in a very personal and inspiring way.