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Big Brothers-Big Sisters launches friend-raiser' campaign

By By Steve Gillespie/The Meridian Star
Oct. 3, 2001
Big Brothers-Big Sisters of Meridian wants to double its number of adult and student volunteers within the next month.
The organization planned to unveil its "friend-raiser campaign" during a news conference this morning at its office in Harris Elementary School. The campaign is designed to lure corporate sponsors.
Big Brothers-Big Sisters already has snagged one corporate sponsor in the East Mississippi Correctional Facility in Meridian, where more than 10 employees have become mentors.
Locally, Big Brothers-Big Sisters supplies mentors at Meridian Public Schools for children in kindergarten through seventh-grade. Each mentor meets with a child for an hour a week.
Currently, there are 94 mentors in the program. Mentors usually help children with school work; they also talk with children, play ball with them or walk with them around their school campus.
Roberts, who was campaign director of United Way of East Mississippi for two years, replaced Rosemary Harris as program manager. She resigned and returned to work as a teacher.
In addition to corporate sponsors, Roberts said the program is still looking for individual volunteers including high school juniors and seniors who have a free class period during the day.
Student mentors must be at least 16 and have an A or B average; adults must have a high school or equivalent degree. Roberts said scholarship opportunities are available for students who mentor.
The local Big Brothers-Big Sisters program began a year ago and grew to 102 mentors. Roberts said he would like to see the program branch into the Lauderdale County School District and eventually have mentors work with their children through their senior year in high school.
Children are referred to the program by school counselors and teachers. Any adult interested in becoming a Big Brother or Big Sister should call Roberts at 484-3619 for more information.
Steve Gillespie is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call him at 693-1551, ext. 3233, or e-mail him at sgillespie@themeridianstar.com.

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