BINGHAMTON, N.Y. - A well-known youth mentoring program is expanding into Broome County for the first time.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Twin Tiers began operating recently in our area.
Last week, it held a meeting at the Binghamton Country Club to inform interested volunteers and recruit local community members for its advisory board.
Adult volunteers, known as "bigs," are matched with at-risk youth between the ages of 6 and 14, most of whom are referred by their parents or guardians.
The bigs commit for one year to spend 2 to 4 hours per week with their "littles."
Executive Director Kaitlyn Hoeflein says the key is being consistent, available and positive.
"So much of these mentoring relationships is caught, not taught. These kids just pick up on the things that they're are seeing. They are around the volunteer, they see the way they interact, they see the way that the volunteer views the world. They can go to the grocery store together," she said.
While Big Brothers Big Sisters already has 50 local kids signed up for the program, it is in desperate need for mentors.
Volunteers undergo background checks, submit references and receive a home visit as part of an extensive interview process.
For more information, call (570) 265-3009 or go to BBBSTwinTiers.org.
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