Big Brothers Big Sisters is an organization dedicated to using mentors to empower children. So a partnership between the BBBS of Central Wisconsin and the Plover Kiwanis Club makes sense, thinks club Membership Chairman Timothy Roman. That’s why he brought the idea—already tried and tested by his former Kiwanis club—to Plover when he moved to the area in the mid-1990s.
For more than a decade, the Kiwanis club and its sponsored CKI club at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point have annually treated 15 to 20 “Littles” to dinner at Pizza Hut before making a chilly trek to the university’s Quant Fieldhouse to watch a basketball game. By matching up one chaperone per child, they make their group outing about the one-on-one adult-child relationships the BBBS organization thrives on. All of the children are new Big Brothers Big Sisters enrollees—called “Littles”—who are still waiting to be matched with older mentors—called “Bigs”—whose interests and personalities will yield a mutually beneficial friendship.
The organization is one that has been part of Roman’s life since before he became a Kiwanian.
“Both my older brother and sister were mentors,” he says. “I got to know a couple of their matches along the way and saw the benefits that come from the relationship.”
The impact BBBS made on Roman and his family stuck. He’s now a board member for the Central Wisconsin chapter, and as a school-based mentor, he visited his “Little” monthly to have lunch and play games. His wife became a community-based mentor to a young man before they met, and together, the two of them continue to sustain a connection with him.
His passion about the organization has rubbed off on his fellow Kiwanians.
“This is probably my favorite club project,” says Eric Molien, club secretary. “It has been really cool to get to know my Littles and has gotten me to starting to think about becoming a Big (for more than just one day).”
The Kiwanis club also participates annually in Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Central Wisconsin’s annual Bowl for Kids’ Sake fundraiser. This past year, the team composed of Plover Kiwanians was the largest donor.
“It’s another entity that’s very close to what the mission of Kiwanis is in terms of helping children so we’re always willing to be a part of that,” says Molien. –Courtney Meyer
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