Friday, October 31, 2014

Serving the children

Nerves filled her heart moments before they officially met. All the background information she had been given about the little girl raced through her mind. Then the door opened, and they met. Her fears calmed as a new relationship was born.

SISTER — Courtney Bryant volunteers. Photo provided

SISTER — Courtney Bryant volunteers. Photo provided

One year ago, Courtney Bryant, a Lynchburg, Va., local and Liberty University junior, made the decision to join the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Virginia program and is still a volunteer today.

According to bigva.org, “the mission of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Virginia is to provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported, one-to-one relationships that change their lives for the better.”

According to Bryant, she intended to leave an impact during her time at Liberty. Not knowing how she would make a difference in the Lynchburg community, she decided to take a chance.

“Transferring from George Mason University and coming into Liberty, I was unsure of what I wanted to do outside of school,” Bryant said. “I knew I had to do something and had heard a lot of things about the Big organization, so I joined.”

According to the Big Brothers Big Sisters website, roughly 90 percent of children who were paired with a Big were reported to make better choices during their childhood.

“The Big program is definitely a good experience,” Bryant said. “I always wanted a little brother or sister, so I definitely felt that I would have a good impact on her, but I would say (my Little) has definitely taught me what it means to be a big sister.”

Bryant also said that not every Little is from a bad home, but may come from one where parents may not necessarily have enough time to spend with their child or children.

“The program requires eight hours of time to be spent with a Little per month, but I spend around 10 to 15 hours,” Bryant said. “My Little and I enjoy going out to the movies the most.”

Bryant said students interested in joining the program should not worry about being a bad Big brother or sister.

“For anyone interested in the program, all I can say is jump in, because all a Little expects is to hang out with a Big,” Bryant said. “The first time I met mine, I loved her.”

According to Bryant, once all her nerves were gone and it was just her and her Little, she realized she not only gained a friend, but a sister.

According to bigcva.org, “as a volunteer, you have an opportunity not only to impact a child’s life today, but to transform their potential for tomorrow.”

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