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Big Brothers Big Sisters looking for more volunteers



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SALT LAKE CITY -- A donation of money is good; a donation of time is even better. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Utah is looking for more volunteers to mentor children.

The Utah Chapter began in 1978. In the past year, nearly 1,800 children who need another adult in their lives have found relationships through Big Brothers Big Sisters.


In 2008 Big Brothers Big Sisters of Utah served 1,795 children; an 11% increase from 2008.

This year, the emphasis includes children who are refugees, Native Americans or who have a parent incarcerated.

Recently, KSL News joined Kelsea Eyre and B.J. for a night out. The two get together every other week at different places. Kelsea is the "big" and B.J. the "little" in what the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization calls a successful match.

"Over the years, I had a friend who did it, and it sounded like you could have a lot of fun with just one person that becomes a good friend, and you can make a difference in someone's life," Kelsea said.

When we asked her "little sister," B.J., what she liked about Kelsea.

**Impact of Big Brothers Big Sisters**
• 52% less likely to skip school • 67% more likely to improve class behavior • 46% less likely to begin using illegal drugs • 57% more likely to avoid substance abuse • 72% more likely to build healthy relationships • 93% more likely to have improved self-esteem
"She's a great friend," B.J. said. Kelsea fills a need for 8-year-old B.J. She doesn't know her father, who is in prison. Her grandmother has adopted her and her siblings.

B.J. said the evenings with Kelsea are so special because it's the one time in her day when something is just for her.

"Because, so I get away from my brothers and sisters," B.J. said.

Big Brothers Big Sisters' coordinator of mentoring children of prisoners, Michele Beckstrand, said she was recently at the prison to talk to inmates.

"They really get it," Beckstrand said. "They understand the need for it. They really want their children to be in it."

Kelsea and B.J. have been matched for just over two years, and the sisters plan to continue.

"It's kind of fun seeing where life goes for each of us together," Kelsea said.

If you would like more information about Big Brothers Big Sisters, or you can help, CLICK HERE.

E-mail: cmikita@ksl.com

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Carole Mikita

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