National Mentoring Month: Big Brothers Big Sisters - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

National Mentoring Month: Big Brothers Big Sisters

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WATERLOO (KWWL)-- January is National Mentoring Month. This is a time to spotlight the importance of mentoring across the country. One program who does that on a daily basis is Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Iowa.

Big Brothers Big Sisters reach out throughout northeastern Iowa helping younger children get partnered up with an older mentors.

Justin Jackson and Kaleb Wikert have been together for a year and a half, but this pair acts as if they have been together their whole lives.

Justin Jackson is Kaleb Wikert's big brother through Big Brothers Big Sisters in Waverly. 

"They had Kaleb in mind for me. They knew I like sports and Kaleb likes sports. It was a perfect fit," said Jackson.

Jackson and Wikert spend only a few hours a week together, but they make sure to make the best of it.

"When we play football he helps me with my catching and he helps me with my homework. He helps me with stuff I don't know. If he knows how to do it," said Wikert.

Jackson jokingly admits he may not be up on his fifth grade homework, but statistics show students in the Big Brother Big Sister program miss school less. Jackson says that is certainly the case with his little brother.

Wikert looks forward to every Tuesday when he and Jackson get together to do either homework or throw around the football.

"Every Tuesday after lunch I always look at the clock to see what time it is and I can't wait to meet with him after school," said Wikert.

There are school-based mentors and community-based mentors.  School-based mentors meet for as little as an hour a week at school with their "little."  Jackson and Wikert are community-based. They have the opportunity to meet outside of school to do activities.

Wikert and Jackson plan to keep in touch forever in the future.

"Kaleb is my little brother. Or kind of almost my son. Once he gets going and gets older doing activities and stuff I want to be there," said Jackson.

There are over 100 children who still need mentors in Eastern Iowa.

It is really easy to be a mentor for a younger child. All you have to do is step into a Big Brother Big Sister location to sign up.  All children are accepted into the program. For more information you can go to www.bbbs.org.

Online Reporter: Nikki Newbrough

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