NEA program needing "Big Brothers"

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Northeast Arkansas Big Brothers Big Sister is looking to expand their number of volunteers to help mentor local boys and girls.

"It's something I have always wanted to do," said Big Brother Ryan Skelton. "I didn't know Jonesboro had it but when I found out I jumped on it."

Skelton said the program was the perfect way to give back to the youth in the community.

"He's come a long way," said Skelton. "He's learning things and sometimes when he does something, it's something that I've taught him."

However, Skelton isn't the only one doing the teaching.

"I've learned a lot from CJ, he's taught me a lot," said Skelton.

Right now, not all "Littles" are paired up like CJ Lenarr. Recruitment Director, Grant Cagle said they have a hard time getting "Big Brothers" to volunteer.

"We ask that men stand up and serve that time commitment which is only one year but it's only about two hours a week," said Cagle.

The activities the "Bigs" and "Littles" can do together are endless.

"They can play basketball, go to the movies or dinner," said Cagle. "It's just one-on-one mentoring."

The program works with ages six to fifteen but no matter the age the impact is huge.

"The younger they are, that has a huge impact in their lives." said Cagle.  However, the older they are, it's a time when they can start thinking about college and continuing their education."

Skelton said money isn't an issue. He can tell that CJ enjoys just spending time together.

"We would go out in the community, movies, bowling alley and stuff but that stuff can add up and so we started doing less expensive stuff and he seems to like that a bit more," said Skelton.

For CJ, he said the best parts are the experiences he never would have had if it wasn't for his "Big" Ryan.

"He's helping me do things I've never done," said Lenarr.

"Get your Howl on" for Big Brother Big Sisters will take place August 23rd and 24th. Red Wolves merchandise will be sold and all proceeds will go to Big Brother Big Sisters.

If you are interested in joining Big Brothers Big Sisters click here.

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