Big Brothers Big Sisters has appointed Marni White to serve as its new regional executive director for Ellis County.
White recently ended her yearlong contract with the Midlothian ISD Education Foundation, but then she found that BBBS was seeking a new director.
“(The Foundation) hired me for a yearlong contract and I stepped in to help with its short term goals while the board focused on its long term goals. I wish them the best,” White said. “I anticipated spending the summer off with my daughter and then looking to see what was next in the fall.”
She stumbled upon the directorship posting on a friend’s Facebook page, then it showed up on the Midlothian Chamber of Commerce website and also on the city’s website.
“Everyone where I turned I kept seeing it, and it was like little breadcrumbs,” she said. “I was sure God was showing me an open door.”
After meeting with former executive director Diana Phillips, White met with local BBBS board member Earl Jones.
“He shared his vision for the local board and Ellis County region with me,” White said. “I believe that Ellis County is ripe for this program. There are several school districts and lots of kids that could use a mentor in their life.”
BBBS statistics show that the chances for an at-risk student to graduate rise 87 percent when they are matched with a mentor. Those numbers alone are proof that the program is successful at changing lives, White said.
She is equipped to lead the BBBS through experience in leading nonprofit organizations, mentorship of middle school students and counseling of women trying to break the poverty cycle. She personally knows the kind of impact that being a mentor can have on both parties.
“I couldn’t believe the impact it had on my life and theirs. Sometimes they just simply need someone who chooses to be a part of their life,” she said. “I believe some of us take it for granted that we have a support system.”
Part of White’s role as the regional executive director will be to raise awareness about the BBBS program and to recruit mentors, referred to as Bigs. Adults over the age of 18 are matched as either a Big Brother or Big Sister with a child they mentor, called a Little. Males mentors are matched with boys and females mentors are matched with girls.
The process to identify adults as eligible Bigs is thorough to protect Littles from anyone who would seek to harm them emotionally or physically. A huge matrix is used based on past life experiences, interests and hobbies, and a myriad of attributes to make a match, ensuring that the Little receives a Big with whom they can make a connection.
“We are desperately in need of Big Brothers to come alongside boys right here in Ellis County who need a male figure to help set them on the right path,” White said. “The bulk of our waiting list is boys from Waxahachie, Red Oak and Midlothian. Some of them have been on the waiting list for nearly a year, hoping someone will choose to be a part of their life.”
Bigs must have no criminal history, can commit two to four days a month and at least two hours at a time to meet with their Little and invest in their life.
White said there are two ways that mentors can spend quality time investing in the life of a child. The first is BBBS’ community-based program, which lets Bigs and Littles to meet in an everyday setting. The other is the school-based program, which lets Bigs and Littles meet at school during the student’s lunch time or extracurricular class periods.
The Big Brothers Big Sisters for Ellis County is an extension of Big Brothers Big Sisters Lone Star in Irving. The BBBS of Ellis County offices out of the Midlothian Police Department Justice Center and serves all of Ellis County.
For more information about the Big Brother Big Sisters of Ellis County, to volunteer as a mentor or to nominate a child as a Little, visit www.bbbstx.org or call 325-643-5600.
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