Big Brother expands

Published 2:16 pm Friday, January 28, 2005

By By ERIN VER BERKMOES / Niles Daily Star
Big Brothers Big Sisters is on the move.
With a goal of trying to serve over 800 children within the two county service area by 2010, the organization is expanding.
Over the past year the program in the northern half of Berrien County has grown, through the "Lunch Buddy" program at the Benton Harbor schools, and others making the need for an affiliate office in St. Joseph.
To maximize their services in Cass County, Big Brothers/Sisters is planning to open an office in Dowagiac. Members of the community and staff are currently in the process of identifying a specific location as well as viable sources of additional, initial funding for this project.
The organization is also looking to do a bit of downsizing at the same time. "The office building in Niles that Big Brothers/Sisters currently occupies is much too large for the agency." said Wise. "We are looking to put the building up for sale."
The organization is encouraging other small, non-profit organizations to consider leasing space within the building because, a fully occupied building would look more attractive to a potential investor.
The funds from the sale of the building would allow Big Brothers/Sisters to further expand its programming and to achieve its 2010 service goal.
But this isn't the only thing that would guarantee their success. They also need the help of the community.
One way the community can help is to meet the mentoring needs of today by becoming a financial supporters and participating in any of the organization's fundraisers.
On Saturday, Feb 26, they are putting on a Trivia Night. It's being held at St. Mark's Parish Hall in Niles. The cost is $100 per table with a maximum of 10 players per table and the top prize is $250. There will be a cash bar, with free coffee and pop, and you can bring your own tail-gate munchies. Doors will open at 6 p.m.
Reservations are requested by Feb. 18.
To meet another of Big Brothers/Sisters goals is for people, especially males over the age of 18, to become mentors. Often people are scared to jump into such an endeavor, said Wise.
If you tell us your interests, they will find a child that enjoys the same type of things and more often than not the experience of the match between the child and the adult is a positive one.
For more information on the fundraiser or on becoming a mentor, please call Big Brothers/Sisters of Berrien and Cass at (269) 684-1100.