Big Brothers Big Sisters is seeing a mentor shortage
More than 200 youth in the Tennessee Valley are waiting on a mentor through the Big Brothers Big Sisters program.
This shortage isn't just impacting our area, but it's a nationwide issue.
The organization says the only way these young people can reach their ultimate potential is to get quality volunteers.
Ansley Kellerman with Big Brothers Big Sisters says more boys are waiting on a mentor than girls.
John and Ferris are a duo who spend their time learning life lessons while shooting some hoops.
John Jacosalem and Ferris spend plenty of weekends together here at Ferris' favorite spot Spare Time.
Ferris said he looks forward to talking about his day with his big, John.
“When I get in the car, he asked me the house has school been going, and I say good because it's been going,” Ferris said.
The big little duo has been together for more than three years.
Ferris says John talks to him about respecting others and helps him stay out of trouble.
“So I don't go do anything stupid,” Ferris said.
John Jacosalem has been a mentor with big brothers big sisters since 2006.
He says he enjoys helping young people become their best self.
Jacosalem says mentoring is more than just having fun, it's about the quality time.
“I go run a few errands so that he can kind of see what it's like being an adult and having responsibilities. It's something that you have to do before you have your fun,” Jacosalem said.
Jacosalem has encouraged one of his friends to become a mentor, and they matched with another student from Ferris' school.
He says if you have the desire to volunteer, then you shouldn't let anything discourage you.
The program makes it's easy for matches to have a good time.
“Companies and organizations they allow us to do things for free or do them at an extremely discounted rate,” Jacosalem explained.
Being a big brother or big sister requires at least a one-year commitment.
For those who want to get involved, visit Big Brothers Big Sisters' website.