UPCOMING EVENTS BIGS WINE AUCTION – April 13, 14 & 15 New 3-day event featuring the areas first Wine Auction! Friday-an evening of local wine tastings & viewings. Saturday-four seminars during the day and auction in the evening followed by Mark Randisi and the Sounds of Sinatra. Sunday-Bubbly Brunch at the Boathouse Restaurant. BIG LITTLE HERO RACE April 14, 9 a.m. – NMC Main Campus Presented by Northwestern Michigan College’s Professional Communications students, this race features both a timed 5K and 10K, as well as a one mile fun run for the whole family. BOWL FOR KIDS’ SAKE May 8 & 9 – Incredible Mo’s Perhaps our best known event–over 500 local businesses and community members form teams, collect pledges, and then celebrate with a night of free bowling, amazing food, team photos, and chances to win incredible prizes. CHARITY GOLF EVENT August 29 & 30 –LochenHeath Golf Club Tee off for a great cause. Two-day event. Big Brothers Big Sisters By Cecilia Chesney B ig Brothers Big Sisters of Northwestern Michigan—or BIGS as we call it—is about changing outcomes for children. It is about reversing the downward spiral brought on by a child living in poverty and/or without the consistent guidance of two parents. It is about giving young people hope so they can rise above their current circumstances. BIGS provides children with qualified, caring adults who help them find the confidence to achieve success in whatever future they wish to pursue. Isaac was matched with his Big Brother Russ when he was 12 years old. Today Isaac is 16. His dad is a heroin addict and Isaac lives with his stepdad and two younger sisters—even though his stepdad doesn’t have custody of them. Isaac’s mom moved to Florida with another man while she remains married to his stepdad. Isaac has been the main caregiver to his younger sisters since the day they were born. Isaac’s stepdad has had two different girlfriends move in and get pregnant and then move out in the last 3 years. Stepdad also has two boys of his own that live with him, Isaac, and the younger girls every other week. And, now he has a new live-in girlfriend who has two teenagers; one has Down syndrome and the other has anger issues. Stepdad and his girlfriend both work but have garnishments against their wages and oftentimes do not have money for food. Isaac’s home environment does not support him getting an education. He is often required to stay home to care for his younger sisters or even cut the grass—both of which trump going to school. Four years ago when Russ and Isaac met, Isaac was flunking out of school and didn’t have much hope for his future. He and Russ talked a lot about the impact a good education would have on his future. During the past four years Isaac has worked hard in school, taking advantage of every opportunity to work with tutors and teachers outside the regular school day. Today Isaac is attending West Senior High School and TBAISD Career Tech Center and is determined and on track to be the first in his family to not only graduate high school, but with honors. There are over 10,000 children like Isaac under the age of 17 living in a single-parent household, 6,000+ living in poverty, and nearly 1,200 confirmed cases of child abuse/ neglect throughout the five-county region of northwestern Michigan. BIGS is known as the gold standard of mentoring because of the system we utilize to ensure the highest standards. Protocols are followed to keep children safe, support every relationship we make, and effectively help children achieve success. BIGS’ Agency Information Management System tracks every step in the process to monitor and support the relationship. Our adherence to safety begins and ends with the work of our professional case managers. Before we can help a child achieve success, we must place them in a stable and safe relationship with a mentor. THE PROCESS: ASSESSMENT OF A CHILD’S NEEDS A child is enrolled in our program; we conduct an interview with the parent and gather as much information as possible about the child; discuss current living conditions and challenges; an individual interview is conducted with the child to gather additional information, including any hopes and dreams and perhaps even goals. THOROUGH SCREENING OF EVERY POTENTIAL VOLUNTEER Seven background checks are conducted; three personal references are required; social media reviews; volunteer interview; home visit and interview with others living in the home. ENROLLMENT Process to ensure a child is matched with the best possible volunteer based on compatibility and/or specific needs or special requests by either the child or volunteer. ONGOING MATCH SUPPORT Ongoing supervision to ensure the child and volunteer are benefitting and thriving from relationship; a case manager supervises each match relationship, contacting the parent, child and volunteer individually to assess the strength and quality of the relationship and ensure the volunteer mentor is receiving vital support. Do you think $1,200 per year is a good value to invest in a child in need? Did you know it costs taxpayers $28,117 to house an inmate for one year? An investment in Big Brothers Big Sisters is an investment in your community. A donation to Big Brothers Big Sisters helps build a healthier and more robust community where any child, regardless of their background, can succeed. To help support children in our community, go to bigsupnorth.com and make a donation today or contact Cecilia Chesney, Executive Director at (231) 392-6497 for more information.
Published by Families First . View All Articles.
This page can be found at http://digital.zoompubs.com/article/Charity+Spotlight/3001078/473009/article.html.