big sisters 

The best gift you can give … is you Big Brothers/Sisters wish list By Chris Woodall The only thing some kids want for Christmas is two front teeth, but Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Whistler and Pemberton have another spin on that old song. The organization partners children of lone-parent families with an adult they can share activities or just a talk about life with. The hope is that the youngster will look at the Big Brother or Big Sister as a friend and mentor, not a parent, who they can talk to about "stuff" that the boy or girl would be uncomfortable discussing with their mom or dad. "We make it clear they aren't fulfilling a baby-sitting role," says Donna Milstein of the organization. The "Bigs" are from any walk of life, married or single, with or without children, who volunteer about four hours a week to be a friend to a child or youth aged 6 to 16. The "Littles" are matched with potential Bigs after careful interviews and a thorough inquiry to ensure the Big is a reliable, caring adult. The lone parent is also involved and must want the Big for the parent's son or daughter. Caseworkers keep in touch after a match is made to provide any help to keep the friendship going. Bigs are expected to commit for a year or two, but many matches last for years. There are currently five little brothers waiting for someone special to make a difference in their lives as a friend. Here they are, although their names have been changed to protect their confidentiality: "Sam" is nine years old and lives in Whistler. Sam likes a lot of physical activities and is wishing for a Big Brother who likes skiing, swimming, hanging out and going out for dinner. Developing a special relationship to have someone to talk to and look up to is really important for him. "Joe" is eight years old and lives in Whistler. Joe's another active boy looking for someone to spend time with. He's hoping for a Big who likes skiing, cycling, tennis, golf, football, bowling, hiking, chess, card games, Lego and video games. Joe would really like someone to talk "guy stuff" with. "Frank" is nine and lives in Whistler. Also an active one, he'd like to meet a Big Brother who likes baseball, skiing, biking, camping, laser tag and arcade sports. "Tom" is seven years old and lives in Whistler. Like the rest, he's very active with lots of energy to burn. He'd like a Big Brother who likes a variety of different things: skiing, swimming, fishing, gardening, woodworking and bible study. All the little sisters in the organization have been matched, but there is a waiting list of Big Sisters hoping a single parent and his or her daughter might want to get involved. Three of those Bigs are (their names have been changed, too): "Susan" is a mother of two teenaged boys who'd like to be a positive person in a little sister's life. Susan is a long-time resident of Whistler and is interested in the arts. With a little sister, Susan would do neat stuff around the house like baking, crafts, quilt work, music and books. She also likes outdoor activities such as ice skating, boating, gardening, and she likes animals. "Sally" is a university grad in her 30s who's involved in different activities around Whistler. Her interests are cycling, bowling, hiking, boating, baking, board games, soccer, walking in the park, pool and down hill skiing. "Sarah" is in her mid-30s and is self-employed in Whistler for seven years. She enjoys yoga, running, golf, crafts, reading and cooking. If anyone would like to find out more from Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Whistler and Pemberton, phone 938-9299.

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