WICHITA COUNTY (KFDX/KJTL) — For nearly 12 years Big Brothers Big Sisters has created and supported one-on-one mentoring relationships to help area children achieve success in life.

BBBs’ Program Director Deborah Halborson said 2019 was one of the organization’s strongest years.

They saw an influx of mentee and mentor applications but the coronavirus caused a dramatic shift in 2020.

“Every child is one decision away from involving themselves in a risky behavior,” Halborson said.

And that’s why Halborson said mentors like Mary Maskill are essential to the program.

“One-on-one mentoring is an excellent way to change a child’s life that’s probably under-served in some way,” Maskill said.

The nonprofit helps children realize their full potential through various mentorship programs.

“If you’re just that constant person that they can turn to and know that it doesn’t go past me and I am somebody they can rely on and I’m not going to disappear,” Maskill said.

Over the course of the pandemic, Halborson said the relationship-based initiative suffered once the organization had to adapt to a virtual plan.

They suffered a great decline in not only finances but matches.

“In 2019 we matched 81 children in our community with a mentor, in 2020 we matched 41,” Halborson said.

And as they try to recover, there have just been eight matches so far this year.

Halborson and Maskill encourage Texomans to do what they can to support these youth whether through donations or volunteerism.

“Don’t be scared of stepping up and making a difference in a child’s life because it can be so wonderful for you and them,” Maskill said. “It takes over a thousand dollars to make a match and that’s why this organization is so wonderful and I stayed with it for so long, is because the matches are really checked out thoroughly.”

Maskill who was matched with her first little in 2010 said she learned a lot from her and they still have a great relationship and it’s because of her personal experience she hopes others will invest their time and reap the same rewards.

If you do decide to become a big brother or sister you are only required to spend four hours per month with your match.

Find details on how to become involved here.

Follow this link for donation details.

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