The Liberty University Athletics Department has embarked on a new adventure, becoming a big sibling. Liberty has paired up with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Virginia to better assist children who are facing adversity with a strong and professionally supported one-on-one relationships that will change the children's lives for the better, forever.
Liberty Athletics started its department wide partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Virginia with a special event this past Saturday morning. Members of the organization took part in Liberty's annual "Spooktacular" event, this year conducted by the baseball and softball programs. There were 300 people in attendance, including children, parents of children and the Liberty baseball and softball teams.
Dressed in their best Halloween costumes, Liberty's baseball and softball teams scrimmaged at the Liberty Baseball Stadium along with their welcomed guests. Following the game, a time of fellowship and games on the stadium's concourse with the attendees took place.
"I am just so proud of how our student-athletes continue to serve our local community with such great love and care" stated Morgaine Godwin, Liberty Athletics Student-Athlete Development Coordinator. "It takes a real team effort to put these events together, but Liberty University is committed to showing the love of Christ to the Lynchburg community and seeing all of those smiling faces on Saturday really made everyone feel like the effort was worthwhile."
Saturday's event was the first of many new ventures between Liberty Athletics and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Virginia.
"We are so excited to be partnering with an organization that has a long history of investing in the lives of youth," stated Godwin. "This partnership will provide incredible opportunities for our student-athletes to further their involvement in the community and continue to pay it forward."
For more than a century, Big Brothers Big Sisters has been helping change children's perspectives and giving them the opportunity to reach their potential. The organization started in 1904, when a young New York City court clerk named Ernest Coulter was seeing more and more boys come through his courtroom. He recognized that caring adults could help many of the children stay out of trouble, and he set out to find volunteers, thus marking the beginning of the Big Brothers movement.
Around the same time, the members of a group called Ladies of Charity were befriending girls who had come through the New York Children's Court, later becoming Catholic Big Sisters.
Both groups continued to work independently until 1977, when the two joined forces and became Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. More than 100 years later, Big Brothers Big Sisters currently operates in all 50 states – and in 12 countries around the world.
There are two types of programs offered by Big Brother Big Sister: community-based mentoring and site-based mentoring.
Community-based mentoring is a nationally renowned program which pairs positive adult role models with children from primarily single parent homes. The purpose of this model is to help children achieve personal growth and avoid negative behaviors through the provision of a positive role model. The "Big" spends six to eight hours per month for a full calendar year with his/her "Little", with the relationship often last for years.
Site-based mentoring pairs adult volunteers with children in a local elementary school or community center. Each volunteer works one-on-one with a child for one hour per week exclusively on-site, for the duration of the academic school year with contact continuing via phone calls, emails or letters.
"Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Virginia has the responsibility of providing strong and enduring relationships for children facing adversity," commented Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Virginia Executive Director Ash Gorman. "Just as importantly, we create partnerships that help to foster an environment of community trusteeship. By empowering and enabling mission-based volunteers to make a difference in our children's lives, we show that any adverse situation can be overcome when the community rallies and directs its efforts collectively."
Gorman had this to say about the Liberty Flames working with the program, "We're thrilled to have the support of the Liberty University Athletics Department and we greatly look forward to building a partnership that can transform the lives of Central Virginia kids by putting them on a better path towards success."
Two of Liberty's coaches have already joined into the program as Big Sisters. Liberty Field Hockey Head Coach Jodi Murphy and Lady Flames Track & Field/Cross Country Assistant Coach Rebekah Ricksecker have already set the bar for the Flames' athletics department, revealing the picture of what is to come for the Big Brother Big Sister organization.
"Being a big sister is the best," stated Murphy. "My little and I have a great time together hanging out around town and taking part in activities on Liberty's campus. The fact that I am a coach at Liberty allows my little to have 26 other sisters at Liberty too. The girls on my team treat her like she is a team member. My hope is she sees the value in commitment, hard work and having a passion for whichever path the Lord leads her."