Courtney Myrick, Contributing Writer, Chattanooga, Tenn. — Don’t belong to a the Greeks but want a little? UTC students are needed as mentors for the Big Brothers Big Sisters program.

According to their website, The Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) mission statement is to provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one relationships that change their lives for the better, forever.

“After a year or two of being mentored, it’s a completely different kid having one extra person encouraging them,” said Emily Barrow, site-based mentoring director for BBBS.

According to BBBS QuickFacts and a study by professor Peter Frecknall, 84 percent of adolescents do better in school within a year after they join the program, 83 percent keep out of trouble, 90 percent improve relationships with their friends and 96 percent show higher self esteem.

As of 2013, 266 children were being served through mentoring relationships. About 212 children are involved in the community-based program, and 54 are involved in the site-based program.

Community-based programs involve a volunteer at least 21 years old (“big”) and a child (“little”) spending at least four to six hours a month together, getting to know each other.

Site-based matches involve a volunteer at least 18 years old at the child’s school reading a book or having lunch once a week.

About 30 to 40 UTC students are involved in the site-based program at Brown Academy.

Freshman Jessica Bastianelli, Madisonville, Tenn., said after only a few weeks in the program she will stay involved.

It’s impacted her so much, and her little is already becoming more outgoing and willing to open up, Bastianelli said.

UTC students can fill out an application located on the second floor of the University Center. Interested students are encouraged to sign up within the first couple weeks of spring semester.

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