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Big Brothers Big Sisters Back in Joplin - KOAM TV 7

Big Brothers Big Sisters Back in Joplin

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JOPLIN, MISSOURI -

"I wanted to do something with my time that would help someone in our community," Chris Mitchell said about his experience volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters. 

"It's nice to have something to do once a week. Make a difference in a child's life that can have an impact on the future of our world," Mitchell said. 

He's one of about a dozen Bigs currently volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ozarks. There's a little more than 5 potential volunteers on the waiting list. 

The organization had been on hiatus for about a year and a half as it established itself as an independent chapter, no longer under the umbrella of the Springfield branch.

"Someone from Springfield had to come here and meet people, and then go back to Springfield to enter the information in the system, then set up a follow up meeting and come back to Joplin," Director of B.B.B.S of the Ozarks Greg Spink said. "We think Joplin will be better served with us here locally."

Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ozarks is now it's own non profit, operating out of the United Way building in Joplin.

Through at least part of the reorganization process, new applications for Bigs had to be turned away. Spink says now it's focused on finding new volunteers to serve youths in Jasper and Newton county. 

"Littles, they just come to the program. Counselors refer them, juvenile officers refer them, the prison system refers them," Spink said. "[They need] an outside person who gives them good advice, who helps them succeed."

"I'm hopefully making a positive impact on [my little]," Mitchell said. "And you don't have to be perfect. Just be someone to hang out with and be able to connect with and be a friend with them."

Spink, currently the group's only employee until it hires a case manager, says once it's serving more than 40 clients the organization will look to move into a new building. 

The organization is holding one of it's largest fundraisers, Bowl For Kids Sake, March 18th at Carl Richard Fourth St Bowl. 

Anyone interested can register at joplinbigbro.org or call 417-626-9244

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