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Giving Back This Holiday Season

As Thanksgiving marks the unofficial start of the holiday season, many of us will likely be rushing from store to store to pick out the perfect presents for our loved ones. But the holiday can also be a way to give thanks for what we have by giving back to those we may never have met. Right near your 1500 Locust apartment are loads of opportunities to donate your time, skills or even just money to help brighten the holidays for fellow Philadelphians in need.

One organization whose name you may know but whose mission may be a bit less clear is Big Brothers Big Sisters. The organization operates its Philadelphia headquarters out of Center City, just two blocks from your 1500 Locust apartment. The international agency matches children from underserved communities with adults in the area who can provide vital support, help them hone their skills, find motivation to succeed and learn life-long lessons. There are nearly 4,000 young people in the five-county Philadelphia region enrolled in the program, showing just how important it is to the future of our local youth.

Becoming a “Big” involves just a few simple steps. Volunteers fill out a simple form about their interest and then speak with a staff member to learn more about the program. Attend an orientation, followed by a full application and an interview and then, finally, you’re matched with your “Little.” The organization offers several different types of mentoring programs, depending on the needs of the child and adult: Community-Based Mentoring involves the pair spending time out together in the local area, getting ice cream, playing basketball or going shopping together. Site-Based Mentoring takes place at a set location, such as the youth’s school or the adult’s workplace. There are also a number of LGBTQ Program to specifically assist youth who identify as LGBTQ. Getting involved doesn’t take much, but it can make a lasting impression on the youth involved: BBBS research shows that, after enrolling in the program, youth have reported better performance at school, strengthened relationships with family and less risk of drug and alcohol use.

If you’re looking for a way to show your thanks for all that you have this Thanksgiving, consider paying it forward by giving your time and talents to a deserving local young person.

Big Brothers Big Sisters

123 S. Broad St.

Suite 1050

Philadelphia, PA 19109