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BBBS receives $15K grant for one-to-one mentoring

By Vicky O. Misa | Vicky.misa@news-star.com | (405) 214-3962 | Twitter: @Vicky_NewsStar
The Shawnee News-Star
Shown, from left, are Tracy Meeuwsen, program director at the Avedis Foundation; Cheyenne Pettigrew, Avedis office manager; Nikki Rieves, area director for Big Brothers Big Sisters Shawnee; and Dr. Kathy Laster, Avedis president and CEO.

This week the Avedis Foundation gave a $15,000 grant to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Oklahoma (BBBSOK) to continue to provide one-to-one mentoring services to Shawnee children.

“The Avedis Foundation is honored to provide this grant to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Oklahoma to benefit and impact the lives of Shawnee children,”Avedis President and CEO Dr. Kathy Laster said. “We are proud to have a local director in Nikki Rieves, along with her board, working diligently during these difficult times to continue to provide caring, stable and positive role models to at-risk children.”

BBBSOK is grateful to the Avedis Foundation, Melissa Ramirez, CEO of BBBSOK Inc., said.

“Their funding will support our one-to-one youth mentorship program,” she said. “Together, we are providing life-guiding support to children in Shawnee.”

One-to-one mentoring

BBBSOK regularly provides one-to-one mentoring services through two avenues:

Community-Based — Bigs provide Littles individualized time and attention regularly through activities in the community, typically two to four times per month for a few hours each time. They develop a trusting, caring relationship that provides an outlet for the Little and a model for handling everyday challenges. Over time, Littles gain confidence, achieve new skills and competencies, and develop an enhanced capacity to care for others.

School-Based — Bigs offer the same individualized time and consistent attention, but the venue is the Little’s school. In light of COVID-19 concerns and restrictions, BBBSOK has taken steps to make programming both safe and flexible. Matches in the community-based program have been provided ideas for how to meet virtually using Zoom and FaceTime. They are encouraged to follow CDC guidelines and practice social distancing if they decide to meet in person. School-based matches will be encouraged to meet digitally at a regularly scheduled time but will also be allowed to occasionally meet in person if all parties agree to the interaction.