By Amie Sites Pharos-Tribune
---- — Through a new campaign, 55 volunteers in 55 days, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cass County (BBBS) is seeking assistance from local businesses, organizations to be a part of its Local Hero program. They are looking for businesses willing to work with employees who volunteer one hour each week through the site-based program.
This is the first time BBBS has completed such a big campaign for the Local Hero program, said Elizabeth Loposser, Columbia Elementary principal.
“We felt we really needed to do something to get the attention of the community,” Loposser said. “Volunteering an hour a week is a very simple thing for someone to do.”
The Local Hero Program, for elementary-age children, began at Fairview Elementary School in 1998. Since then, it has expanded to most of the elementary schools in the county. In the program, an adult or high school student is matched with a child in elementary school. The volunteer spends one hour each week visiting a classroom and mentoring the child. The day and time are set up according to the volunteer’s schedule. April Zartman, executive director of Big Brother Big Sister of Cass County, said. Mentors will not see the child outside of their school environment and while they are together they will study for tests, help with homework, play games, etc., Zartman said.
The nonprofit is inviting businesses and organizations to a luncheon Aug. 8. Those who are interested will be able to get more information about what the campaign entails at the luncheon. They can sign up that day or send a representative who will be able to listen and take the idea back to their business, Zartman said.
“Maybe a local business would say volunteering is part of the job,” Zartman said. “While allowing an employee to mentor once a week, they might be able to fulfill that volunteer requirement.”
Because they didn’t have 55 needed matches at the beginning of last year, they’re trying to build it up in the community and show it’s needed, Zartman said.
Loposser, who is also on the board of directors for BBBS, said the program gives the student one more person who affects him or her in a positive way.
“It’s a wonderful program and benefits students tremendously,” Loposser said. “We have a lot of talented people in Logansport who can share their talents, time and mentor youth. It’s a way to help community and help students develop as individuals.”
The site-based mentoring program is less of a commitment, admitted Zartman, who said “technically you could take your lunch break and go meet with the child.” Zartman hopes they have matches by the first or second week in September.
Although there isn’t a deadline to RSVP for the luncheon, Zartman would like it a few days before the event so they know how much food to have. Those interested should RSVP at 574-722-2222 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Amie Sites is a staff reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5117 or email@example.com.
If you go: • WHAT: Local Hero luncheon • WHEN: noon to 1 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 8 • WHERE: Logansport High School cafeteria RSVP at 574-722-2222 or firstname.lastname@example.org