PARIS – Big Brothers Big Sisters of Western Maine has been recognized by Big Brothers Big Sisters of America as a member of the 2003 Growth Through Action Team.

At the National Conference for Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Child Health Center’s mentoring program was recognized as one of the “top 25 of those whose growth was 10 percent or more of the total children served in the combined categories of community and site-based mentoring.”

In Maine the impact of mentoring has been great. The information gathered throughout Maine has shown that 75 percent of the young people who have been involved in mentoring programs have demonstrated an increase in self-confidence and 33 percent have shown improvement in their school performance.

The study also showed that 68 percent of those involved in mentoring programs were better able to express feelings, and 38 percent have reported a better relationship with family, peers and other adults.

The Child Health Center’s Big Brother Big Sisters Program offers site and community based mentoring programs in Androscoggin, Oxford, northern Cumberland and southern Franklin counties. With more than 1,400 matches, this is the largest mentoring program in Maine.

In the site-based program adults and high school students meet with younger children in schools for an hour a week. They work on schoolwork, play games and talk. The community-based mentoring program offers adults in the community the opportunity to be a positive role model for a child who needs a little extra attention.

Those wishing can support mentoring programs through Bowl For Kids’ Sake, in which sponsors and bowlers raise funds to match local children with a Big Brother or Big Sister. The dates are: South Paris, and Lewiston; April 3 and 4; Rumford, March 27; and Wilton, March 19. To learn more and reserve a spot call 743-0222 or 782-5437.

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