Kids, Mentors Benefit From Big Brothers Big Sisters

Friday, January 23rd 2009, 5:14 pm
By: News On 6

By Tara Vreeland, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- January is National Mentoring Month, and the Big Brothers Big Sisters network is working to make a difference in the lives of children and their mentors.

She's a little shy, but Little Sister Tesha Currie is on a mission. She and her Big Sister, Lori Bryant, used the Internet to look up the address to the White House.

Tesha and her real sister plan to write a letter to President Barack Obama's daughters. 

Playing on the computer is just one of the activities Tesha enjoys with Lori.

"We play in the gym sometimes and get on the computers and color at the table," Tesha said.

Lori has been Tesha's Big Sister for three years in the school-based program. They meet once a week, usually on Fridays, for about an hour. It's that single hour that makes a lifelong difference.

Tesha was described as a withdrawn second grader when they were matched. Now she is a mature fourth grader.

"Children who are mentored through this program are less likely to do drugs, less likely to use violence and less likely to drop out of school, and I think those are all statistics we all want to believe in," Lori said.

The Big Brother Big Sister Program is embraced by Sandburg Elementary School. The principal said it's because of the benefits the kids get from the one-on-one time.

"Sometimes the situations at home don't allow for that, and the Big Brothers and Big Sisters fill a void when it's needed," Principal Barbara Burke said. "Just the way the families are structured these days. That's really important for the kids to have someone to talk to."

"It puts a lot of things into perspective for me, and I think a lot of Big Brothers and Big Sisters would say the same thing," Lori said. "It's extremely rewarding. It's a relationship that I hope to have the rest of our lives."