From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 3, Number 37 - December 11, 2003
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Big Brothers, Big Sisters comes to Sublette County

by Janet Montgomery

A new mentoring organization has branched to Sublette County: Big Brothers Big Sisters. It has a mission to promote healthy, meaningful relationships by bringing children in need together with volunteer adults and families, according to a letter presented last week to Sublette County Commission by Rebecca Gregory.

This BBBS Sublette County branch will serve children ages 5 to 17, and there is no requirement that a child must exhibit certain traits, behaviors or background before they can be a little brother or sister.

Gregory stressed that any child is eligible as long as there is parental or guardian consent. She said the program is for all kinds of kids who need a mentor, whether it is a child from a single-parent family or a large family. "(It's) for kids who get lost and need a mentor."

The BBBS program also has different types of matches, such as a one-to-one or a family match, depending upon the kid, Gregory said.

"With the national name Big Brothers Big Sisters, we're hoping that it'll be familiar enough that people will be comfortable having their children in the program," she said.

A promotional flyer by the BBBS organization summarizes a 1992-93 study that found that 46 percent of BBBS participants are less likely to begin using illegal drugs, 27 percent less likely to begin using alcohol, 52 percent less likely to skip school, and 37 percent less likely to skip a class.

"We believe that proper role models and caring adult volunteers are the key to preventing emotional and behavioral problems as our young people mature," Gregory wrote in the letter.

While having worked with the social services programs as well as in the social service programs in this county, Gregory said that she started looking into bringing the program to Sublette County after learning that another mentoring program had lost its funding and ended.

Gregory instigated the pursuit of bringing a branch of the BBBS program to Sublette County and put together a local advisory board that will make recommendations to the deciding committee that is in Laramie. Gregory serves as chair and other board members include Sublette County Attorney Van Graham, family therapist Dayle Reed-Hudson, Sublette County Clerk Mary Lankford, Big Piney High School Counselor Bill Lehr, and Sublette County Public Health Nurse Trish Russell.

Gregory said now that there is authorization from the BBBS central office in Laramie to begin pursuing funding for this local branch, the goal is to raise $25,000 by March 1 to "open our door."

As the BBBS is a non-profit and receives no corporate funding, the branch office in Sublette County needs to be completely self-sustaining, funded entirely by donations and local contributions, according to the letter.

To get more information about BBBS or to make a contribution, contact Gregory at 367-6767.

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