‘I get to be a child again’

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‘I get to be a child again’

Mentors are fundamental but in short supply at Big Brothers Big Sisters
Big Sister Catherine Schaefer frosts cookies in her Durango kitchen with her Little Sister, Anjelica, 7, who had fun putting on the sprinkles. They were matched last spring through Big Brothers Big Sisters.
Nathan, 11, right, scores on his Big Brother, Brad Tafoya, at the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Colorado holiday party in December at the Boys & Girls Club of La Plata County. The organization holds several events each year and arranges for discounts at area businesses when Bigs and Littles go out.
While having lunch at McDonalds, Anjelica, 7, writes a note to her Big Sister, Catherine Schaefer, telling her how she feels about her.
JERRY McBRIDE/Durango Herald

Anjelica, 7, asks her Big Sister, Catherine Schaefer, to give Santa Claus a kiss before they put him away while taking down Christmas decorations in Catherine’s Durango home. They had put up the decorations in December while having a sleepover, where they did girly things such as paint their nails and try lip gloss colors. Anjelica did not want to see Christmas end.
Mentoring makes a difference

Surveys have shown 83 percent of parents and 84 percent of teachers report seeing academic improvement among children who participate in Big Brothers Big Sisters programs. About the same amount of young people reported improved grades and an increased desire to learn.

All surveyed reported seeing increased self-confidence among the youths.

Despite the organization’s proven effectiveness, it struggles to find enough qualified mentors. And the shortage is becoming more acute. In 2012, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Colorado had 164 matches, down 26 percent from the previous year. Currently, about 50 children and teenagers are waiting for matches.

Executive Director Tracy Cornutt estimates an additional 1,500 to 2,000 children in La Plata County could benefit from involvement in the organization, which has an annual budget of about $300,000. The funding goes toward screening and training mentors, as well as monitoring the matches.

To learn more or to volunteer, call 247-3720 or visit www.bbig.org.

Monetary donations may be sent to P.O. Box 2154, Durango, CO 81302.

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‘I get to be a child again’

Big Sister Catherine Schaefer frosts cookies in her Durango kitchen with her Little Sister, Anjelica, 7, who had fun putting on the sprinkles. They were matched last spring through Big Brothers Big Sisters.
Nathan, 11, right, scores on his Big Brother, Brad Tafoya, at the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Colorado holiday party in December at the Boys & Girls Club of La Plata County. The organization holds several events each year and arranges for discounts at area businesses when Bigs and Littles go out.
While having lunch at McDonalds, Anjelica, 7, writes a note to her Big Sister, Catherine Schaefer, telling her how she feels about her.
JERRY McBRIDE/Durango Herald

Anjelica, 7, asks her Big Sister, Catherine Schaefer, to give Santa Claus a kiss before they put him away while taking down Christmas decorations in Catherine’s Durango home. They had put up the decorations in December while having a sleepover, where they did girly things such as paint their nails and try lip gloss colors. Anjelica did not want to see Christmas end.
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