Big Brothers Big Sisters forms satellite agency in county

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN STAFF
Nick Mork, president and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Sedgwick

County, has announced the formation of a satellite agency in
Marion

County. The agency is part of a statewide initiative by the
Sedgwick

County organization to bring the program to 75 new Kansas counties
in

five years.







Because a population of 100,000 is required for a nationally

affiliated organization, the new agencies will be satellites of
the

Sedgwick County office. Although policies and procedures required
by

Sedgwick County must be met, each county has autonomous control

through a local board of directors.







?Marion County has already conducted a feasibility study and
formed a

board of directors,? Mork said. ?The board of directors is in the

process of securing office space and equipment and raising funds
to

get their agency off the ground.?







About $40,000 will be needed for the first year. Funds for
operational

costs will come from foundation grants, local donations and
in-kind

donations.







Big Brothers Big Sisters matches children age 5 to 17 who are

primarily from single-parent homes with caring, carefully screened

adults. The adults spend two to four hours a week with their
little

brother or little sister.







According to a national impact study of Big Brothers Big Sisters,

Little Brothers and Sisters are 46 percent less likely to initiate

drug use, 27 percent less likely to start drinking alcohol, 55
percent

less likely to skip school and 33 percent less likely to have
violent

confrontations than their peers.







?A significant number of students in our county have been
identified

by their school districts as at-risk,? Robi Alstrom, president of
the

Marion County board of directors, said. ?By bringing Big Brothers
Big

Sisters to Marion County and working with other service providers,

such as Communities in Schools, we can help many of our local
children

reach their true potential. In the long run, intervention in the
lives

of these children will make Marion County a better place in which
to

live.?







Area residents can get involved in the program in a number of
ways.







Individuals or organizations can make financial donations, make

donations of in-kind services and help with fund-raising. Office

equipment and furniture, as well as help with office remodeling,
also

is needed.







Another way to get involved is by volunteering to mentor a child.







Those interested in helping or organizations that would like more

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