Sherry Soyez enthusiastic in her new role as BBBS executive director

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN BRENDA CONYERS
Big Brothers Big Sisters organization has a new executive director, Sherry Soyez of Marion.


Soyez previously worked as a senior accountant for the City of Marion.


Soyez graduated from Newman College in December 1998 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration.


“I was looking for a job that would be more challenging for me,” Soyez said, “and I really believe in the cause of Big Brothers Big Sisters.”


The organization has started the 2001 membership drive, and Soyez said she is anxious to see many new individuals, businesses and organizations become a part of Big Brothers Big Sisters.


“I really believe in the importance of mentoring in a child’s life,” she said. “It can have a huge impact.”


Soyez said studies show that children involved in the BBBS program were 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.


“We don’t always like to acknowledge the drug problem that exists in Marion County,” Soyez said. “But through BBBS we have a real chance to make a difference in the lives of children.”


In addition to looking for new memberships, Soyez is seeking volunteers for the program. She said 13 matches have already been made, with the possibility of three or four matches finalized before the end of July.


“I got to be a part of the last several matches, and it was exciting to see the enthusiasm the new Bigs brought into the program with them,” she said.


“Bigs” are the adult half of the match, with “Littles” the students.


“It is that kind of enthusiasm that will keep the program growing and going,” Soyez said, “And I feel that is partly what I can bring into the program-enthusiasm and heart.”


Soyez said the biggest challenge in her new position, is setting up matches that last.


“We like to see the matches made that will last through the Littles’ high school years,” she said.


Soyez said the organization stands with the match and often shares advice and guidance to the Bigs as children grow through different stages of their life.


Besides individual matches, a child can be matched with a couple or a family.


Soyez is also taking volunteers for a program called “Bigs in Schools” in which a Big visits a child one hour a week during school.


“It doesn’t take much time,” she said, “but it can make such a difference.”


According to Soyez, it doesn’t have to cost much to participate. She said the important part of being a good Big is spending time on a consistent basis with the Little.


Because BBBS is a non-profit organization, Soyez said donations are necessary.


The organization will receive a $60,000 grant from United Methodist Health Ministries Fund over the next three years, but Soyez said it is important for the organization to be ready for the fourth year when the grant money is no longer available.


“That’s why we need to get the word out about Big Brothers Big Sisters,” she said. “If people know the good work and the positive effect it can have on the county, they want to be a part of the program.”


Memberships are priced to include everyone from a senior citizen to a business or organization.


Soyez said the contribution is fully tax deductible, will entitle the member to the semi-annual newsletter, and will give the member the satisfaction of knowing they have reached out to a child.


Memberships are $5 for an individual, $10 for a family, $25 for a business, and over $25 for a contributor.


For more information about donations or volunteering, contact Soyez at 218 N. Walnut, P.O. Box 7, Peabody, KS 66866; or telephone at 620-983-2479, or e-mail to: bbbsmn@southwind.net.

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