Group seeking youth essays
With National Mentoring Month set to begin in January, leaders of Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Eastern Panhandle want to highlight how a nurturing adult can better a child’s future.
The first-ever Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring essay contest open to any Eastern Panhandle resident age 8 and older also will offer the opportunity for the top local essayist to win a ski lesson package to Whitetail Resort in nearby Mercersburg, Pa.
“Every single day, people all across the Eastern Panhandle work behind the scenes to make a difference in the young people’s lives,” explained Jeanne Flowers, the executive director of the local Big Brothers Big Sisters.
“We want to take time to shine a spotlight on the vital role that mentors play in improving the future of our community,” said Flowers, who has headed the non-profit based in Martinsburg for more than a decade.
The winning essay will be chosen from those submitted to Big Brothers Big Sisters by midnight on Jan. 20.
Essay submissions should be between 250 and 500 words. The author may focus on what he or she has learned by serving as a mentor or may describe a mentor who has made a difference in his or her own life, Flowers said.
Along with the essay, each entry should include the writer’s name, age, mailing address and a phone number and email address, neither of which will be published.
Members of the Big Brothers Big Sisters’ board of directors will select the top essay. The winning writer’s work will be publicized in area newspapers and the winner also will receive a prize package, “Learn to Ski or Snowboard” package for two to Whitetail Resort.
Entries should be mailed or dropped off at the Big Brothers Big Sisters office at 701 Wilson St. in Martinsburg 25401, faxed to 304-263-5536 or sent by e-mail to Big Brothers Big Sisters match specialist Ashley Kilmer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Since 1974, Big Brothers Big Sisters has served children in Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan counties, and dozens more young people in the Panhandle are on a waiting list today for a Big Brother or Big Sister, Flowers said.
There’s no question that time spent with a caring adult makes a difference, Flowers said. “Statistics from our national office show that kids who are matched with a mentor are less likely to drop out of school, use drugs, be involved with fighting,” she said.