LEWISTOWN -The United Way of Mifflin-Juniata has reached 40 percent, or $240,230 of its goal of $600,000 during the campaign that began on Sept. 18 and runs until March 15, 2014.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Juniata Valley is one of the agencies that benefits from working with the United Way. Roxie Garrett, resource coordinator at United Way of Mifflin-Juniata, discusses how partnering with the United Way has served Big Brothers Big Sisters:
"For a child who has a difficult home life, lacks self-esteem or a struggles with shyness, even one hour a week of encouragement and reassurance can
Jordyn Glick, left, meets with her ‘Little,’ Dru Spreece, during an after-school bonding event.
Photo submitted by ROXIE GARRETT
redefine their entire future. At Big Brothers Big Sisters of Juniata Valley, that single hour each week creates noticeably inspiring outcomes. As a United Way funded organization, this program seeks to impact local children through the positive influence of mentorship.
"According to Judy Fitzgerald, BBBS program coordinator, the effects are tangible and 'Littles' improve in a variety of areas. Children begin to get along more with peers and family, do better in school and avoid at-risk behaviors such as drugs, alcohol and tobacco use. With the influence of trained volunteers and layered case management, children flourish under this type of relationship unique to BBBS.
"The mentorship opportunities with Big Brothers Big Sisters are flexible, allowing volunteers to work around personal schedules. There are two paths in the program: onsite after school visits or community based activities.
"To Fitzgerald, a pivotal evidence of BBBS's success is the amount of mentored 'Littles' who return as 'Bigs.' For kids to come full circle and want to help someone is huge, she said.
"However, the impact is not limited to individual lives, because ultimately this program strengthens the health of our whole community.
"The United Way of Mifflin-Juniata recognizes the importance of one hour per week for the sake of our children. As the 2014 campaign continues, we know that the value of one hour-or one dollar-should never be underestimated."