Winslow said that, despite what some might assume, the organization doesn’t ask for much time, but passion and attention.
“Even one hour a week or three to four hours a week help,” said
Winslow is a 33-year veteran of the BBBS office and said most considering volunteering to be adult mentors don’t realize “it doesn’t take a lot of time.”
Recent local high school graduate Alexis Howard echoed Winslow, saying it’s not the quantity of time spent together with her “Big Sis” but the quality that helped her the most.
Howard, who met her Big Sis Angie Miller in 2012 while living in Middletown, recently shared a key life moment as Miller joined Howard’s mother and family in celebrating her graduation from the Warren County Career Center.
The 18-year-old now works as a paralegal in a local law firm and will attend Sinclair Community College in the fall with goal of eventually transferring to the University of Cincinnati to earn an undergraduate degree.
Howard looks back and credits the friendship and guidance of her mentor for getting her to such a promising point in her life.
“I couldn’t image what my life would be like without her (Miller). She has made such a big impact on my life,” said Howard.
“She has helped me through some troubles and helped keep my mind on school,” she said.
Howard’s mother Sharon, a single mom, also credits Miller for helping show her daughter a more promising life.
“I owe Angie (Miller) a lot of credit. She made a big difference in my daughter’s life and because of her my shy little girl became an out-going young woman,” she said.
Miller said the program was just as beneficial to her.
“The relationship with Alexis over the years has added a lot of depth to my life and purpose,” said Miller, who is a married mother of four adult children.
“And it wasn’t that hard. If I was going on a hike I’d ask Alexis if she wanted to go. If I was baking some cookies I’d ask Alexis if she wanted to come over and help.”
Winslow said the trend in children involved in the program has changed from those children coming from single-parent homes to “rougher family situations.” Regardless, said Miller, helping and guiding a youth toward adulthood is uniquely satisfying.
“It’s just doing life together – sharing life and some experiences,” said Miller. “And along the way you have some meaningful conversations.”
For more information on how to become a volunteer Big Brother or Big Sister - to donate money - go to the Butler County office's
About Big Brothers Big Sisters
Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) of America’s Butler County office has seen a steady amount of adult volunteers matched with children and teens in recent years but the waiting list of youth seeking adult mentors still averages about 150, according to BBBS officials.
More than 500 youths on average annually are locally involved in BBBS-arranged relationships.
According to the BBBS national office, across America 145,429 children and teens had Big Brother or Big Sister relationships in 2018.
Studies have shown boys and girls in BBBS relationships are 46 percent less likely to use drugs; 52 percent less likely to skip school and 27 percent less likely to use alcohol.