Daily Star photo/AARON MUELLER Area teen volunteers Ethan Zimmerman, Kelsey Medlin and Alyssa Nasco organized and raised funds for a holiday party for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Berrien and Cass Counties.

Archived Story

Teens with ‘big’ futures

Published 7:32pm Friday, December 16, 2011

With some area teenagers in the headlines for all the wrong reasons, Chris Frank, senior case manager for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Berrien and Cass Counties, likes to brag on her teen volunteers.

Six high school students from Niles and Edwardsburg recently approached Frank about volunteering for Big Brother Big Sisters. But since they were under age 18, they couldn’t volunteer as mentors.

So Frank created a teen committee to help plan events for area “bigs” and “littles.” Their first project was quite an undertaking.

The teens planned, organized, raised money for and will host a holiday celebration for the children and their mentors scheduled for Sunday at AMF Blossom Lanes in Benton Harbor.

The volunteers raised more than $500 to fund the event. Each child in the program will get a gift at the party. The teens purchased all the presents and wrapped them  this week.

“They far exceeded my expectations,” Frank said. “I’m blown away.”

With a limited staff and budget, Frank said the teen volunteers have been “incredible” resources to Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Ethan Zimmerman, an Edwardsburg High School student, said he is excited to be able to interact with the children and the mentors at the party this weekend.

“It’s just great to help kids who need a role model,” he said.

Also on the teen committee are: Katy Wozniak and Kelsey Medlin of Niles High School and Dominic Razzano, Dylan Harbaugh and Alyssa Nasco of Edwardsburg.

Frank said the holiday party is “just the beginning” for the teen committee. They hope to put together a sledding outing, day at the ballpark and beach day for the “bigs” and “littles” in the future.

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