Mentor program builds both leader and student
Since March of 2005, the Big Brothers Big Sisters program has been a part of Whitesville Central School. Funding from the Allegany County United Way has supported this program which has served nearly 100 students over the last several years. Each year this site-based mentoring program matches high school student volunteers with elementary students and the pairs engage in educational, self-esteem, and team-building activities every Tuesday after school for about one hour.
For almost a year now, high school mentor Sylvia Billings has been matched with elementary student Jenna Jackson. At the beginning of the school year Jenna was having trouble keeping up with some of her school work. Through meeting with Sylvia each week, Jenna has improved her grades in all subjects. She also has improved interactions with peers and is thriving--especially when doing group work.
Jenna's mom comments that she is doing well with all her test scores going up--especially in reading, which she was struggling with before. Jenna said working with Sylvia is fun, especially the planned activities they get to do together each week.
Sylvia said she loves to meet with Jenna each week because after a stressful day she can come have fun with her.
Sylvia's mother, Eva, also thinks being a mentor to Jenna has helped Sylvia. Eva explained that she believes being a mentor helps the mentor as much as the person they are matched with. Eva said she believes this experience has opened Sylvia's eyes and instilled the value that the world is bigger than just her. Eva also said being a mentor has helped Sylvia gain confidence and grow as a person.
Sylvia and Jenna always have a great time together and look forward to seeing each other every week. This is just one of many successful relationships that the Big Brother Big Sister program at Whitesville Central has helped to create.