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Waiting Lists Grow at Big Brothers Big Sisters - KOAM TV 7

Waiting Lists Grow at Big Brothers Big Sisters

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PITTSBURG, KANSAS -

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Crawford County is struggling to find volunteers. the non-profit serves about 60 children, or "littles". but there are dozens more still waiting for their own "big". 

Playing catch with his cousin, Gauge Tomasi says this is the type of activity he'd want to do with a "big". 

"Go outside and play catch with a football or baseball," Tomasi said. 

But the 10-year old is still on a waiting list after more than 2 years. Gauge's brother, Frank, matched with a big in February after sitting on the waiting for a year-plus. "When Frank got matched, [Gauge] was like, 'when am I getting a match? When am I getting a match?'," Gauge's mother Jennifer Cornell said. 

It's a small example of the struggle Big Brother Big Sisters of Crawford County has when it comes to finding volunteer "bigs". But match support specialist, Charity Walker, says the problem isn't finding women to volunteer. "Females tend to roll off [the waiting list] within a few months," Walker said. "A lot of times we have trouble getting big brothers in. And so they tend to take longer. Sometimes we have kids that can wait years to get a big brother."

Right now there are 105 "littles" in Southeast Kansas still waiting for a match. 45 in Crawford County, alone. And the longest on the waiting list has been there more than 4 years.

"They're less likely to use alcohol and drugs [with a big]. They're more successful and they're more likely to graduate from high school, go on to college," Walker said. "They're more confident. They have a role model that's there with them."

"Kids need someone outside of home that can just be there for them. Someone who can support them no matter what," Cornell said. "It's always different when it's not your parent. And he needs someone that can just give him the confidence that he needs."

The organization also has a couples or family volunteer option, where an entire household can serve as a "big" for a child.

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