EUGENE, Ore. — A lifetime bond–that’s what Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Lane County says you will get if you sign up to be a “big” for one of the dozens of kids waiting for a mentor.
A couple of hours a week–that’s all Big Brothers Big Sisters says it takes to make a difference.
Eleven-year-old Preston Ferebee and Nathan Lillegard are looking for a perfect fit. But it seems they may have found one–in each other.
“It’s really fun to have someone to do things with like go hiking or something like that ’cause not a lot of my friends live close to me. They live really far away,” Ferebee said.
“A lot of these younger guys don’t have a father around, so you are sort of filling that role, but also it really helps you as a person,” Lillegard said.
Ferebee lives with his great-grandparents and was matched with Lillegard through the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Lane County back in October.
“It doesn’t take a whole lot of time, but you get a whole lot out of it, just sort of reinvigorating you what it’s like and what it’s like to be a kid,” Lillegard said.
And those activities are endless. This day it was bowling. Other days it’s mini golf.
“It’s not just about what time you have if you can make 10 minutes for a phone call just to check in,” Lillegard said.
“He’s like basically your friend,” Ferebee said.
Big Brothers Big Sisters is hoping to form more friendships. Its waiting list is long, and big brothers are hard to come by.
If you can’t spend time out in the community, the nonprofit says there’s a new school-based program and a partnership with EPD that will help with at-risk youth. Its goal is to recruit 750 matches in the next 12 months.
“I feel like I will be a better parent in the future because I hung out with Preston,” Ferebee said.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Lane County says the need is critical, and it says with its expanding goals it has a menu of mentoring option.
For more on the program, click here.