Children have a friend in volunteers - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Children have a friend in volunteers

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June 18, 2006

Albany - - This father's day so many children and teenagers don't have a male presence in their homes. But thanks to the help of area volunteers, they get an opportunity to have a mentor who intervenes in their lives to steer them away from the negative influences of growing up.

Seven year old Kianna Lancaster is just like any young girl. She likes eating pizza and going to the mall. Jasmine Williams, a full-time student at Albany State gives of her time so Kianna can do these things.

 "I like to see her happy and I get a joy out of just seeing her happy and her smile. It's something about going to Chucky Cheese and seeing her play. It makes me happy."

Whether its walking through the mall or looking at the latest fashion, Kianna likes it all. Big Brothers Big Sisters are looking for more mentors like Jasmine - especially since it's summer and many kids are sitting at home.

Tabitha Huckaby is the Program Manager. She says mentors don't have to spend a dime to do it.

"It would be more of spending time. If youre going grocery shopping, take the child with you - they can always learn from that. Just giving them guidance, showing them different things, whatever the volunteer would be doing that day would be fine."

Only a day a week is required, but Jasmine admits she likes to spend as much time with her little sister as she can.

"You don't want to just take up an hour a week and then take them back home because what kind of fun are you going to have in an hour?"

So it's those few little hours that remove her away from the stress of college, and provide Kiarra with a friend, and more importantly - a role model.

"She's the best!" Kianna exclaims.

The Big Brothers/Big Sisters Organization is in need of more volunteers - especially men to accomdoate its waiting list of young boys looking for a mentor. Also young girls are encouraged to apply because there's a huge number of female mentors waiting for a mentee.

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