By DOTTY NIST
By resolution of the Walton County Board of County Commissioners (BCC), January 2019 has been proclaimed as National Mentoring Month, and the organization Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Florida has been recognized for its 30th anniversary of service in Northwest Florida.
Maura Little of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Florida presented a request for approval of the resolution. “By proclaiming January as National Mentoring Month and the beginning of our 30th Anniversary year, you will be bringing more awareness to our programs and helping more children get matched with a mentor,” she told the commissioners.
The BCC approved the resolution during the course of its Dec. 17 meeting.
According to information provided by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Florida, the organization was established in 1989 in Northwest Florida and provides services to children in Walton, Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa and Bay counties, with the mission of assisting children facing adversity “with strong and enduring, professionally-supported, one-to-one relationships that can change their lives for the better, forever.”
The vision of Big Brother Big Sisters is, “That all children achieve success in life.”
Each child served through the organization’s community-based and school-based programs is paired with a role model/mentor.
Reported in connection with the 616 children served last year who participated in the organization’s mentoring program for six months or longer, were a result of maintaining or improving by 82 percent for math, 85 percent for reading 81 percent for science, and 88 percent for school attendance. It was reported that 97 percent of the children remained crime free.
In Walton and Okaloosa counties, 133 children were served through the program.
The resolution approved by the BCC recognizing the organization read as follows:
“WHEREAS, the Walton County Board of County Commissioners recognizes the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Florida for their 30th Anniversary of Service in Northwest Florida; and
WHEREAS, the Walton County Board of County Commissioners recognize the Month of January 2019 as National Mentor Month and the impact Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Florida has had on the youth in our community; and
WHEREAS, the Walton County Board of County Commissioners recognize that Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Florida facilitates one-on-one mentorship opportunities to provide short and long term impact in the life of a child. Providing these relationships gives children a friend, someone to call on in times of trouble, and someone to love on them and show them endless opportunity all while having a good time; and
WHEREAS, the Walton County Board of County Commissioners recognize that this organization is unique as they also benefit from the program as they watch their “Little” grow, learn, and inspire to achieve. There is no greater privilege than to watch a child grow and develop into the best version of themselves. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Florida provides the necessary opportunities to allow this development to be achieved through mentor relationships; and
WHEREAS the Walton County Board of County Commissioners extend their gratitude to all the Big Brothers Big Sisters who have taken upon themselves to mentor a “Little” to exhibit endless opportunity and compassion; and
WHEREAS the Walton County Board of County Commissioners thank the staff and volunteers who work many hours to pair these individuals with the best possible match.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that Walton County, Florida, by action of its Board of County Commissioners hereby recognizes NATIONAL MENTOR MONTH AT BIG BROTHERS BIG SISTERS OF NORTHWEST FLORIDA.
DULY ADOPTED this 17th day of December 2018.”
Information on Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Florida is available on the organization’s website, www.bbbsnwfl.org or on its Facebook page. The phone number for Walton and Okaloosa counties is (850) 664-5437, and the toll-free number is (866) 646-3518.