RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV) - January is National Mentoring Month, so why not use it try out something new and get involved in the community?
January is National Mentoring Month, so why not spend it helping the youth in the Rapid City community? (KOTA TV)
One organization is ready to help you make a difference in a young person's life.
"There's such a need in the community for mentors and for kids who really just need somebody to look up to and spend time with," said Big Brother Graham Wickwire.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of America is one of the oldest and largest youth mentoring organizations in the nation. Regional offices, like the one in Rapid City, match adults in the community with "littles." Then, they have a one-on-one relationship.
The matching process is a little more complicated than a first-come-first-serve basis.
"We want to match the right kids with the right adults and make sure they're going to get what they need from this match, so it's based on commonalities, goals, interests, that kind of thing," said Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Black Hills Development Director Savannah Seeger.
For two local bigs, taking on the role a few years ago was a no brainer.
"I wanted a little girlfriend to be running around with and doing fun things in the community and just to be an influence and help her with whatever it may be," said Big Sister Amber Lind.
The activities you can do with your little are endless.
"We've done a lot of hiking in Canyon Lake Park and looking for the rocks, the Rapid City rocks. We've done pedicures and we've gone shopping. We really like to go have coffee together," said Lind.
Those options continue to grow around the Black Hills.
"We've gone to Flags and Wheels and raced go-carts. We have gone swimming, we go to Watiki. We've gone to the park. We like to go and look for Pokemon, Pokemon Go, we collect Pokemon cards together," said Wickwire.
It's an opportunity to provide a safe space and an extra ear to any kid in the community who needs it.
"It shows them other possibilities other than what they're seeing in their home life," said Seeger. "It doesn't have to be a stereotypical broken home or anything like that. Every child can benefit from having an extra person in their life."
It's also a way to act as someone special to look up to.
"If you had that as a child, then you can provide that for someone. Even if you didn't have it as a child, you can do and be what you wish you had, or you can be or do what you were grateful that you had," said Wickwire.
It only takes about an hour a week to brighten someone's day and makes it all worth it when you see how excited your little is to see you.
"You feel good afterward and you know that you're making a difference in their lives," said Lind.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Black Hills currently has around 43 littles waiting for a big brother or sister.
If you want more information on how to apply, click here.