With 2009 just a little more than two weeks underway, it's not too late to add a resolution to your list.
That addition would be to serve as a mentor for a child in the Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) program now in Newcomerstown.
"It (Big Brothers Big Sisters) is important because we have parents enrolling their children from the Newcomerstowna area but we have no adult volunteers (here)," said Jamie L. Orr, President/CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Central Ohio. "That is going to prolong a child's wait for that perfect volunteer."
The BBBS program isn't new to Tuscarawas County; it has been in the county since 1973.
BBBS is the oldest, largest and most effective youth mentoring organization in the United States. BBBS mentors children, ages 6 through 18, in communities across the country -- including Newcomerstown -- with the mission to help children reach their potential through professionally supported, one-to-one relationships with mentors that have a measurable impact on youth.
Mentoring children as a volunteer or a "Big" could mean taking a "Little" for a few hours, a couple times a month for activities such as shooting hoops, playing a board game, sharing a pizza, taking a walk in the park, or just hanging out and talking.
"We also found that the Newcomerstown Exempted Village School District was more than willing to implement our School-based Mentoring Program within their district to help us serve children with high school members," Orr said. "It is another way to stay in contact with children who need positive role models and assistance with their academics."
School-based Mentoring is a lesson in friendship and is one-to-one mentoring that takes place in the schools. Some students do talk with their mentors about class, do homework, or read together, but it's really all about friendship and guidance.
Christ United Methodist Church Youth Pastor Derek Hickman serves on the BBBS Advisory Board in Newcomerstown and is planning to recruit adult helpers, "Bigs," and aide in getting more students involved as "Littles."
"We have many people, adults and students, alike, who will benefit from BBBS," Hickman said. "Students will be helped as they are mentored by their 'Bigs,' and the adults will learn a lot about the needs of the students in this community."
Students who are involved as "Littles" are 52 percent less likely to skip school, 45 percent less likely to begin using illegal drugs and more likely to get along with their families and peers.
"It has been an exciting time for BBBS and Newcomerstown," Orr said. "The Advisory Council has been amazing and if we can begin building up some fund-raising dollars in the area, the program will be sustainable."
On Saturday, March 14 from noon to 2 p.m. at Cy Young Lanes in Newcomerstown, BBBS is planning their first ever Bowl For Kids' Sake in the village.
"This is very exciting," Orr said. "It is a way for BBBS to raise money and to share with the community what we do with the dollars raised."
To register a team or for more information about the bowl, contact Debra Handrich at Big Brothers Big Sisters at (330) 339-6916 or e-mail at email@example.com.
Currently, the Big Brothers Big Sisters office in New Philadelphia serves as the "hub" for five area counties: Tuscarawas, Carroll, Harrison, Holmes and Wayne. To become a volunteer or for more information, call 1-888-364-5965, or visit www.bbbs.org.
"The old saying, 'It takes a village to raise a child,' is true," Hickman said. "BBBS works to get the community involved to touch the lives of our youth and to model success to our future leaders."