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Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Southwest Idaho looking for more volunteers

"It is worth it. It's impacting a child's life who needs you, but it makes a huge difference in your life too."

BOISE, Idaho — January is National Mentoring Month, a time dedicated to celebrating mentors of all kinds and raising awareness about the power healthy, trusting relationships can have on kids. Having a good mentor you can rely on can make all the difference, regardless of your age.

The goal of Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Southwest Idaho is to create and support one-on-one mentoring relationships all across the Treasure Valley. This month, they are celebrating the connections between Bigs and Littles and how those relationships can help kids reach their full potential.

"We are looking at finding the potential in kids and encouraging that. That's what our mentors do," Program Director Melissa Bixby said. "They show up, they are consistently showing up, and they are there for the children in our programs.”

The program matches the child, known as the "Little" with an adult, known as the "Big." Bixby says it’s important to provide children mentors that can turn into friends.

“There is always an adult in your life, but they always have a title and so there is always a role that they are playing," she said. "With our organization, the adult is a friend. The adult shows up and the adult is the consistent piece."

Rosalyn Blake has been a mentor to Elexsi Bilyeu for over 4 years and she says it has been rewarding getting to see her grow and experience the world.

 “There has been so much joy to be a part of Lexi's life. Seeing her get into cheerleading, something that she loves - it's super rewarding," Blake said. "It is worth it. It's impacting a child's life who needs you, but it makes a huge difference in your life too."

Lexi agreed, saying that this is the type of friendship that lasts a lifetime.

"After a few outings, we just started connecting and I just felt like if I needed an older sibling to talk to, then she would be there," she said. "I would text her and Snapchat and do funny filters, and she's been like an actual big sister."

According to Big Brothers, Big Sisters, the program can help improve a child’s self confidence by 97%. Children are also 92% less likely to get into trouble and they say children perform better in school by about 86%.

“The fact that this adult is showing up for them and only them, that is a pretty strong message to that kid,” said Bixby.

Bixby says there is a waitlist for Little Brothers who are looking for someone to call their Big Brother. For National Mentoring month, Bixby hopes to get more community members involved in this program.

To learn more about how you can get involved, click here.

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