Big Brothers Big Sisters military mentoring program is gaining momentum, ABC News reported on Saturday. Big Brothers Big Sisters established the Military Community Advisory Council and military mentors program two years ago; experts specifically designed the council and program to benefit military children. Houston military sergeant Lashonda Johnson describes the program as “invaluable,” ABC adds.
According to executive director of the Code of Support Foundation Kristina Kaufmann, military families are more in need than ever.
“There’s simply no precedent for how repeated deployments have affected the mental health of military spouses, children, parents, and siblings. It’s like living in a continuous state of emergency for more than a decade and never being able to fully exhale in relief,” Kaufmann writes in a CNN opinion column. “As soon as your soldier comes home, you’re just counting down the days until he or she leaves and returns to the battlefield.”
Extended deployments render programs like Big Brothers Big Sisters’ military mentoring especially useful — sometimes even necessary.
“This [military mentoring] provides a stable mentor in their own community. Someone who’s going to be here regardless of deployment schedules, training schedules. This is a friend. This is a big brother. This is a big sister who they can talk to and they can seek out [for] help,” Sargent Johnson tells ABC. Big Brothers Big Sisters match support specialists add that the programs are wildly successful and that they “see an impact [on military children] right away,” ABC News continues.
The Big Brothers Big Sisters official website offers a more in-depth look at the program’s objectives. “Staff carefully match adult mentors and youth mentees in long-term, one-to-one friendships and provide professional support for the volunteers, children and families throughout the life of the match,” the site says. Moreover, the program “respects and acknowledges military values as a platform for the child’s personal development” and “facilitates educational and skills achievement.”