Doing Good: UA and Big Brothers Big Sisters team up

Doing Good

College students help run a program to mentor middle school girls.

Springdale, Ark. (KNWA) — Big Brothers Big Sisters has been pairing kids with mentors for years. But BBBS of Northwest Arkansas has a newer program that is lead by a special group of students from the University of Arkansas.

Mentors with Big Brothers Big Sisters have a great effect on children’s lives.

“Increase self-esteem, increase performance at school. We see an increase in positive peer relations,” Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Arkansas Program Director Rose Ramirez said.

Just in its third year, The Dream Big program is offering our community something new, and it is thanks in part to young women from the University of Arkansas.

“I just wanted to give back to this program and be a Big in it. I joined sophomore year and I’m here still,” Dream Big Program Intern and UA student Maeve Mitchell said.

Mitchell knows the impact of Big Brothers Big Sisters from her time as a little.

“I just felt supported and without my big…Without her, I think there would’ve been a lot of hard times in my life and I would’ve felt kinda alone. I’ve always had her and we still keep in touch,” she said.

Now she helps organize the Dream Big program, bringing college students to J. O. Kelly Middle School every month.

“The program pairs university mentors with middle school girls here at J. O. Kelly to do a variety of different activities focused on building their self-esteem, helping them succeed academically and just preparing them for success,” Ramirez said.

This month’s theme was sustainability.

“We had a relay race focusing on recycling and picking up trash in the community,” Ramirez said.

But the lesson for the girls goes beyond recycling.

“That they are able to give back to their community, empower their community and feel like that they actually have some meaning,” Mitchell said.

It gives young girls a boost to realize their full potential.

The students are involved with the Volunteer Action Center at the University of Arkansas. They work on a number of different programs and always need more volunteers. To get involved, click here.

To get involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters, click here.

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