Area program looking for Big Brother mentors in six counties - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Area program looking for Big Brother mentors in six counties

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

For more than 50 years, one area program has been changing lives. But, like many volunteer-based organizations, it has become harder and harder to find people willing to give their time.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Iowa have been serving children in the Cedar Valley for 55 years.  But they say there are currently numerous young boys who have been waiting upwards of two years to be matched with a mentor.

Aundreus Swanson, 8, is one of the lucky ones. He has been paired with his Big Brother mentor, Zach Humble, for two years.

Thursday, the pair played a simple game of catch, but the time spent together has a lasting impact.  One day, Aundreus hopes to play football, maybe even in the NFL. Aundreus knows Zach will be right there alongside him.

"He has a football and he plays football with me," said Aundreus. "Whenever my mom gets me into football, if she does, he will teach me how to play football."

It's a close bond that has them agreeing on almost everything.

"What team would you play for?" asked KWWL.

"I don't know," answered Aundreus.

"The Packers," answered Zach.

"I hate the Packers," responded Aundreus. They two laugh at the exchange.

It's relationships like this that 70 young boys in the area are hoping to have. Some have been waiting years for the chance.

"It is a lot easier to enroll and attract female mentors. They seem to take to the program a little bit easier," said Chad Swanson, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Iowa Board President. "I think it is people who think they may not be qualified to be a mentor, or they don't have enough time to devote to it; neither of those things are true."

Swanson says just a few hours a month can make the difference for a child.

"Studies show that those kids really thrive and that is what we are looking for. They thrive academically, they avoid risky behavior, and achieve more educational success," said Swanson.

The goal during this 55th anniversary year is to close that gap. Big Brothers Big Sisters is hoping to have at least 55 new male mentors join the program.

Currently, the program serves 400 children in Black Hawk, Bremer, Butler, Buchanan, Fayette and Floyd counties.

If you're interested, please contact Big Brothers Big Sisters through their website.

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