Giving thanks for a program Big Brothers Big Sisters says needs more mentors

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) An early Thanksgiving for Big Brothers Big Sisters as the Bigs and Littles come together at a big table to celebrate their bonds.

Sedgwick Co. Area Director of Kansas Big Brothers Big Sisters Shelly Chinberg said, "Most importantly we eat a lot of food."

This family hosted their annual Thanksgiving dinner on Tuesday night.
It's a little different for the nearly 60 matches, who usually only spend time in their Big-Little pairs, but coming together as a group.

Mercedes Logan, a big, said, "To hang out, to bake and do girly stuff."

Big Mercedes Logan and Little Kylie have been a match for the last three years.

For Logan, she knows the value this friendship can have after her time as a little.

"It really helps me get out of my shell, and that's what I wanted to help someone with, to get out of their shell and see what else was out there," said Logan.

That's the hope of this work, giving kids new experiences and another role model.

"It's really cool because sometimes my mom, she'll be so busy, so I not really be able to talk with her. I actually have someone to lean on and ask for help and guidance and be willing to help me," said Little Kamarion.

That's the kind of bond that can inspire and encourage.

Kamarion said, "I remember the first time I met my Big Brother, my grades weren't too good, and then when I started seeing him, he helped me start reading more and getting my grades up."

Beyond a line of people waiting to get their food, Big Brothers Big Sisters tells me they have a line of kids waiting to take part in this program. In Sedgwick County, about 350 kids are currently waiting on a match, and another 250 are waiting to be enrolled in the program.

"It’s a need. An ever-present need, so we’re happy to talk with anyone interested in being a Big," said Chinberg.

Those who volunteer make likes Jeremiah very thankful because it's helping him with his favorite sport.

"My brother and I like playing basketball, and I'm trying out for the basketball team. My tryouts start in a couple weeks," said Little Jeremiah.