Big Brothers, Big Sisters come to Jonesboro

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT)-Big Brothers, Big Sister may soon be starting a chapter in Jonesboro.

Big Brothers, Big Sisters of North Central Arkansas held a special introductory luncheon at St. Bernards Auditorium on Thursday.

The public was invited to come out and listen to representatives talk about the organization, what they do for children and answer any questions.

CEO for Big Brothers, Big Sisters of North Central Arkansas, Melody Sugg, says they want to open a chapter in Jonesboro.

"There are many children here who are in need of our services, " Sugg said. "We want to partner with the community to bring this effective mentoring program to Jonesboro."

Sugg says they work with a wide range of children.

"We match caring adults, age 18 and older, to children who can benefit from that mentoring relationship," Sugg said. "We match children 6 to 14 years old and they can stay in our program up to age 18."

They have programs that take place both in communities and in area schools.

Sugg says she believes they are right on their way.

They recently received a starter grant for $25, 000 dollars from the Wal Mart Foundation to help get things going.

Tim Hammack, Market Manager for Wal Mart, says they like to help out and serve the areas that they work in.

"It's a good program with great statistics behind what they've done," Hammack said. "It's got a proven history of working successfully with our youth. It helps show them what a good decision looks like and from their statistics it looks like about half as many are now skipping school than before."

Sugg says the proof of the success of after school programs is in the results.

"We know from research and evaluation that our program helps kids stay in school," Sugg said. "They consider going to college. It helps them avoid risky behavior like violence and drug use. It also helps them get along better with their peers, parents and other authority figures."

Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin says the city of Jonesboro could use an organization like Big Brothers, Big Sisters.

"Well, I think any organization like this," Perrin said. "That is a mentor for our children because that's the future leader in Jonesboro is always great to have in the city."

Big Brothers, Big Sisters currently have chapters in Conway, Russellville, Batesville and Newport.

For additional information about Big Brothers, Big Sisters, log onto their website.

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