Photo: (L to R) Tammy Young, Executive Director, BBBS, Jennifer Smith, Senior Community Based Coordinator, BBBS

The holidays are a magical time for children.  For children in the Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) program, most who are living at or below poverty level, Christmas isn’t always magical. That is, UNLESS you are ‘adopted’ by either a generous family, business, 4H Club, church group, school, or even a group of friends. This year, 98 families in the BBBS program were helped (up from 77 in 2015).

“I am overwhelmed by the generosity of the Fond du Lac community!” said Tammy Young, Executive Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters.  “To say the BBBS Adopt a Family program was a BIG success, is an understatement.  I’ve been with BBBS since October of 2014 and I continue to be amazed at how many people step up to help those in need.  Without their help and support, many children would not have had Christmas, plain and simple.  Being able to help 98 families (a 22% increase) warms your heart!  When you see the look on the face of a mom or grandma as they come to pick up the gifts for the family, it puts it all into perspective.  Fond du Lac truly made a BIG difference this holiday season!”

The Adopt a Family project is spearheaded by Senior Community Based Coordinator Jennifer Smith.  “We wanted to be able to help more families this year so we started even earlier than normal” said Smith.  “In addition to the many repeat ‘helpers’, businesses or families that continue to help year after year, we also had several new participants.  We couldn’t have done it without everyone’s help!  Our families don’t get help anywhere else, it’s just us. It’s doubly important we make sure they are taken care of.”

Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) assists children with social, emotional and character development through one-to-one mentoring relationships with caring adults.  Children in the program come from a wide variety of backgrounds, many coming from single parent households, living at or below poverty level.  Big Brothers Big Sisters matches children with Big Brothers, Big Sisters, Big Couples or Big Families in a community or school based program.  Children aged 6 through 13 can enroll in the program through a parent or guardian referral.  Volunteers need to be at least 18 years old and have a valid driver’s license for the community based program, 16 years old for the school based program.  For more information about the program or to volunteer, call 920-922-8200.