On Friday, Feb. 11, I met my new little sister.

On Sunday, Feb. 13, I spent time biking, skateboarding and playing basketball with my new little sister.

Now, we both have a new friend and someone to enjoy activities with thanks to Yavapai Big Brothers Big Sisters.

When I was asked to apply for the program, my first response was, “I don’t have time for that.”
The thought of adding one more obligation to my already overflowing schedule seemed impossible.

Then, I looked at others in our communities who also have full-time jobs and families and still find a way to give back.

After an extremely rigorous screening process — appropriate for many reasons — I waited for my match.

Not long after, I received a phone call and was on my way to my little sister’s home to meet her family and our match advisor.

My match advisor told me my little sister, like many other children who apply for the program in our area, had been waiting for years for a big sister, which is a problem the program faces.

There are far more little sisters and little brothers who sign up for the program than there are adults willing to volunteer their time.

Many people have the same reaction I first had or worry about being roped into activities they don’t enjoy.

I can assure you neither of these is true if a person is determined to help a child.

The program asks big brothers and sisters to spend eight hours with their little sister or brother a month, which can be done in one day or spread out among several.

Eight hours a month isn’t much when considering the difference it could make.

Age is also considered.

If a person feels they relate better to older children, the program attempts to match the volunteer with one of its older children.

If the volunteer is more comfortable with a younger child, that too is taken into consideration.
Matches are also set up so the adult and child have similar interests, therefore making a match rather than a mismatch.

I like to be outside, active and love an adventure.

My little sister enjoys the same, and I’m looking forward to new adventures with her.

The little sisters and brothers and their families are also asked what they’d like to do with a big sister or brother and what they prefer in an adult when it comes to age and interests.

Obviously, only so much can be done to make a match. Children, just like the rest of us, come in all shapes and sizes. The program staff’s job is to match as many desired qualities on both sides to increase the probability of a match’s success.

If you’re ready to become a mentor, contact the program, and if you’re not sure yet attend the Bowl for Kids Sake event at Cliff Castle Casino from Friday, Feb. 25, through Sunday, Feb. 27.