MACON, Ga. – With the help of a $50,000 donation from Brown & Williamson Tobacco and the promise of an additional 120 mentors, provided by Mercer University, Big Brothers Big Sisters will be able to grow and sustain its First Mentors program for more than 550 at-risk youth in the Central Georgia area.
For more than 40 years, Big Brothers Big Sisters has been helping children in Central Georgia stay in school with its one-to-one mentoring program. "Currently the program matches 408 children with mentors throughout our five county service area," said Dianna Glymph, Executive Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters. "The continued generosity of Brown & Williamson Tobacco enables us to expand the reach of our program to involve a minimum of 100 new college mentors in 2002."
Students from six area colleges and universities led by Mercer University will participate as mentors in the program. Once students are screened and trained by the Big Brothers Big Sisters staff, they are matched with children from nearby elementary and middle schools. These student mentors provide support and guidance to children who are impressionable in their formative years.
"Brown & Williamson is pleased to support such a valuable and worthwhile program," said Dan Snyder, Senior Vice President of Operations. "We believe in what these student mentors are doing to ensure a brighter future for these at-risk children. Brown & Williamson takes every opportunity to encourage young people to grow, to learn and to build self-esteem. Research shows that mentoring can also help reduce the incidence of smoking within the elementary and middle school populations."
Brown & Williamson has been an active supporter of Big Brothers Big Sisters since 1999. Mentors will be recruited from Mercer University, Wesleyan College, Fort Valley State University, Central Georgia Technical College, Macon State College, Georgia College and State. Mercer University students have been participating in this program since 1998, Fort Valley State students since 2001.
"We are especially excited about this new partnership with Big Brothers/Big Sisters," said Matt Thompson, special assistant to the president at Mercer and a member of the board of directors of Big Brothers Big Sisters. "They have a proven track record of professionalism and outstanding service, and we look forward to answering their call for volunteer mentors."
For information on becoming a volunteer or a student mentor, call Big Brothers Big Sisters at 745-3984.