ZANESVILLE, Ohio – Big Brothers Big Sisters of Zanesville is a local organization that strives to provide mentorship to local youth to help them reach their full potential.
The organization holds several events throughout the year that benefit youth by building relationships. BBBSZ Executive Director Katie Mainini discussed the Lunch Buddies program the organization has furnished for several years and how it benefits the students.
“Oftentimes we find, because Big Brothers Big Sisters serves at-risk children, that the children enrolled in our programs are maybe missing a role model in their life. A parent figure, grandparent figure, whatever. Whatever that looks like for them and that person that sits with them during the lunch fills a void. So they have a social interaction, they learn to communicate with somebody, they build a friendship and a really positive connection with either an adult or a high school volunteer.”
Last year, the program was short on ‘Bigs’, which didn’t allow for one on one pairing with all of the students. This year BBBSZ is in need of more volunteers to sit one day a week and have a 30 minute lunch with a child.
“Lunch Buddies are our biggest advocates in the schools to create these strong lasting connections for the kids as they go through school and to fill a void for something maybe they’re not getting at home. And transitioning out of covid last year Big Brothers Big Sisters found that we were absolutely essential in the schools. The kids had missed some time because they were away from social interactions. So we did see a greater demand for our programs.”
The BBBSZ Lunch Buddies program is offered at 14 local schools in nine local school districts and if you would be interested in being a ‘Big’ you can learn more by visiting their website.