LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - January is National Mentoring month, and the Big Brothers, Big Sisters Foundation has helped mentor young kids in our community for 25 years.
The program helps at-risk children reach their full potential, by matching them with a positive, caring mentor.
"He's a really nice guy and and he's really good at mentoring me and he helps me with things," said Victor Oliver.
That's how Oliver describes his big brother, Tim.
The two met three years ago through the Big Brothers, Big Sisters program in Lafayette, and ever since, they've been inseparable.
"When we hang out, I get to know him more," said Oliver's Big Brother Tim Vanderplaats. "I get to know his family, he also comes out to our family parties and functions, whether it's birthdays or holiday gatherings. My family knows him, he's become part of our family."
Vanderplaats said the two get together every week, and when they do, activities range from playing basketball and air hockey, to Tim and Victor's favorite thing to do.
"Eat," said Oliver.
"I eat quite a bit," said Vanderplaats. "We don't have a competition, because I still can eat more than him."
No matter what the activity, Vanderplaats said the experience has been life changing.
Big Brothers, Big Sisters Executive Director Ronda McKinnis said she's hoping others will decide to take part in the program.
For those who have been considering becoming a mentor, McKinnis said 2013 is the perfect year to start.
"This year, we have a special need because we have a grant," said McKinnis. "So, we're going to be needing to match at least 75 to 80 new kids by the end of September. So, we're really, really looking for some good solid volunteers."
In 2012, McKinnis said the program was able to match 114 children to a mentor.
Perhaps three years from now, those children will build as strong of a relationship, as Oliver and Vanderplaats.
"I thank my mom and I thank God for putting Tim in my life, and for him helping me with things," said Oliver.
McKinnis said there are a few requirements you must meet in order to become a mentor.
Mentors must be at least 19 years old, must own a car, and must go through a required screening and training process.
McKinnis said you also must commit to being a mentor for at least one year.
For more questions, you can contact Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Lafayette, at (765) 446-2227.
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