Big Brothers Big Sisters of Johnson County Start Program to Support Youth through Sports

credit: IDEA

"We're not going to say that if you're a big sister you don't get to participate in the same athletic activities," Dina Bishara tells the Daily Iowan.

But that's exactly what's happening in Johnson County, Iowa, thanks to a new program that pairs adult volunteers with at-risk youth through sports.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Johnson County received $45,000 from the county to launch Sports Buddies, which will pair adult volunteers with at-risk youth through sports and outdoor recreation, the Gazette reports.

The program is a response to a spike in referrals during and after the Covid-19 virus, particularly among boys.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Johnson County's program director, Chanel Meredith, says more than 50 kids are still waiting to be paired with an adult.

The program will start in October with a full-time coordinator, who will plan and execute 45 one-to-one matches per year.

Other Big Brothers Big Sisters programs around the country have used the same model, and it's worked well, says Daleta Thurness, executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Johnson County.

"It was like marrying my two loves, youth development, advocacy work and just empowering young people, particularly young people who maybe Read the Entire Article

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