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Big Brothers Big Sisters Focus on Military Mentoring

Photo provided by West Point Public Affairs - http://flic.kr/p/dv4sXn

Photo provided by West Point Public Affairs – http://flic.kr/p/dv4sXn

Although rewarding, military life can often be difficult. There are many programs available to help enlisted personnel and their spouses — from relocation assistance to armed forces loans to military counseling. However, the children of military parents are often overlooked. The Big Brothers Big Sisters program recognized this and, thanks in part to a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Program, is launching a new initiative aimed at supporting the children of military moms and dads.

Military children live a life unlike their civilian counterparts. Transfers and deployments can be difficult for them to maintain friendships. They change schools often and some may feel that their life is one constant upheaval. Parents do their best to comfort, protect, and integrate them; however, sometimes that’s not enough.

Enter Big Brothers Big Sisters. Their new military efforts provide 27 Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies around the country with the capacity to help 1,050 military families this year. Under the new program, military kids will be carefully paired with a long-term mentor trained to provide the child with stability and empathy. Many of these volunteers are active or retired military; others were once military children themselves. They’ve been there, lived to tell the tale, and are ready to impart their wisdom and experiences on the next generation.

As adults mired in our own responsibilities, we often forget how hard it was to be a child. The volunteers at Big Brothers Big Sisters help foster lasting relationships and create stability in a sometimes unstable world. Whether the child is dealing with the loss of a parent, a current or impending deployment, or yet another move, Big Brothers Big Sisters is helping see kids through it.

Parents interested in enrolling a child in the program are asked to provide a detailed history of your child, as well as his/her attitudes, strengths, and weaknesses. Parents also get to approve the Big Brother or Big Sister assigned to their son or daughter. All Big Brothers Big Sisters volunteers have passed a vigorous background check and relationships are carefully monitored.

If you think your child would benefit from a mentor or would like more information about the new military program, visit BBBS.org or call (215) 567-7000.

Is your family participating in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program? Or have you volunteered with the organization? We’d love to hear about your experiences!

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