FORT HOOD — Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas will host two open houses this month to provide information on their military mentoring program.
From 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday and Jan. 31, representatives will be available at the Red Cross office, next to Warrior Way Commissary, where parents of military children or residents interested in volunteering as mentors can learn about or sign up for the program.
“It provides one-on-one mentoring to a child,” said Abha Cole, program manager for Fort Hood area Big Brothers Big Sisters. “It provides them with a friend, someone to talk to, especially when a parent is deployed.”
Military mentors may be matched with children between the ages of 9 and 16 who are residents of Bell, Coryell, Lampasas, Travis, Williamson or Hays counties and who have a parent that is active duty, a member of the National Guard or Reserves or are deployed or about to be deployed, or children of parents who have died in the line of duty, according to Cole and www.bigmentoring.org.
Participation in the program is free for children.
“Mentors spend time with the child, helping them with aspirations, goals, whatever they may want,” Cole said. “They give them that extra confidence they need and help (children) build better relationships.”
Mentors must pass a background check, interview and training process before a match specialist will pair them with a child, Cole said.
The first meeting between a mentor and a child’s parents is done with the match specialist present.
“After we introduce the big brother or big sister to the family, we continue to provide ongoing support to the family and to the person that is the big brother or big sister,” said Cole.
For more information about the military mentoring program, contact Cole at (254) 394-3878 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or attend the open house sessions Thursday or Jan. 31 at the Red Cross office in building 8640.