OSCEOLA COUNTY — There is a real need.

The Mecosta-Osceola Big Brothers, Big Sisters organization has a real need for adults throughout Osceola County who are ready and willing to make a huge difference in the lives of young people today.

Big Brothers Big Sisters is a two-county organization with administrative offices in Big Rapids.

In the two counties, there are now almost 40 young people who have been ‘matched’ with an adult friend who is willing to spend quality time listening and just “being there.”

“We have a tremendous need for more adult volunteers — “Bigs” — in Osceola County,” reported BBBS director John Calabrese.

“We have kids on a waiting list. There is a list for both counties, but in Osceola County alone we have some 15 kids waiting for a match with a “Big.”

Kids waiting for a Big Brother or Sister are young people referred to the BBBS program in various ways — from the local school system, from the courts, from the department of Human Services, or by family members.

“We usually receive referrals for kids from single parent families — more often those with only a mom in the home,” continued Calabrese.

“People don’t need to invest money in their volunteering. We ask that they invest time and caring in the child’s life. That doesn’t necessarily cost money.

“We simply want to match a kid in need of a positive role model in their life, with a person who can make a difference and is willing to make the effort.”

“Bigs” - adult volunteers - undergo a background check and are giving a limited amount of ‘counseling’ as to what is expected of them and how the program works.

Potential volunteers need to be 19-years old, and up.

“We try to connect “Bigs” and “Littles” who have similar interests,” noted Calabrese.

“Once a match is made, we hope and expect the “Big” will invest time in their “Little’s” life. Not necessarily a lot of time. One or two hours each week is fine.

“It depends on the relationship that develops.”

Calabrese said BBBS didn’t just need or make use of individual volunteers. They also have husband and wife ‘teams’ serving as “Bigs” to both a boy and girl “Little.”

“That can really work out well,” he said.

“I really want to see the BBBS program grow in both counties. We really need help in Osceola County.

“I hope to find more people interested in being a “Big” - folks who might consider this as a means of service to their community.

“IF we get enough interest, I hope to set up a meeting at which we can tell folks exactly what we are all about.

“We have a great program. It is a commitment, but it is an important commitment to eh future of the young people of this community.”

For more information, contact John Calabrese at (231) 796-1566.