By Beth Land Hecht, LCSW-C
While our Jewish community provides an abundance of ways to do a mitzvah or good deed, perhaps one of the most gratifying volunteer experiences is gained through mentoring. January is National Mentoring Month and this year Jewish Community Services is celebrating the 100 year anniversary of the Jewish Big Brother Big Sister Program, which matches mentors with children and teens ages 7 to 17.
The program was chartered in 1916 as the Jewish Big Brother Bureau and by 1940, matches with girls were added. 100 years later and we still have volunteer “Bigs” mentoring “Littles”, leaving a lasting and positive impact on the lives of over 80 Jewish children each year.
Jeff Berenholtz was one of those children. Now he’s all grown up, thanks in part to his big brother, Ted. Here’s their story.
As you just saw, these relationships are mutually rewarding and often develop into long lasting friendships. Studies have shown that youth who have mentors are less likely to drop out of school, less likely to become involved with alcohol and other drugs and more likely to have positive relationships with family members.
Regardless of whether you’re the “Big” or “Little”, everyone agrees that being involved with the Jewish Big Brother Big sister program is a deeply rewarding experience. If you’re looking to change a life or interested in arranging for a child to have a Jewish Big Brother or Big Sister, please call JCS at 410-466-9200 or visit jcsbaltimore.org.
To help celebrate our 100 years, JCS is asking people to share their stories. If you are a current or former “Big” or “Little”, or know someone who was, please contact us.
By Beth Land Hecht, LCSW-C, Senior Manager, JCS Community Engagement
JCS provides a broad range of services that meet the diverse, multi-dimensional needs of individuals and families throughout Central Maryland. We offer guidance and support when you are seeking solutions for emotional well-being, aging and caregiving, parenting, job seeking, employers and businesses, achieving financial stability, living with special needs, and preventing risky behaviors. To learn more, please visit our home page or call 410-466-9200