That's exactly the kind of relationship the program tries to foster, said Kimi-Scott McGreevy, executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Alleghenies.
"Alivia and her
Big Sister, they really represent the best that can come from this program," said McGreevy
, who took over as director last spring and is striving to grow the organization locally.
An affiliate of the 100-year-old national organization Big Brothers Big Sisters
of America, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Alleghenies
has operated in Cumberland since the late 1980s.
Currently, about 40 children ages 6 to 16 are paired with 40 volunteer adult mentors, McGreevy
Another 50 children are on a waiting list, she
"That is one of the biggest challenges throughout the United States is getting those mentors in the door," McGreevy
said, adding that the organization is always recruiting volunteers, who are vetted through a screening process.
Some adults are hesitant to get involved because they're not sure what to do with a child - or how they can help, McGreevy
"It's not really about entertaining the child," she
"It's really about doing everyday things."
If you like to garden, for example, show the child how to garden.
One current "Big" is a runner, McGreevy
said, and he
has helped get his
"Little" interested in running.
Recently, the "Little" - now 13 - beat the "Big
" in a 5K race, she
"We work with our mentors so they understand it's not about coming into the program and spending money on the children," McGreevy
"We actually discourage Bigs from spending a lot of money on Littles ... It's more about the companionship."
For potential volunteers who want to "get their feet wet," a Lunch Buddies program that McGreevy
is planning to relaunch this fall could be a good starting place.