Your spare time can save a child's life

By Dawn Baker - email | bio

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - We're all busy, but if we were really honest, we probably waste at least an hour each day talking on the phone, texting, or surfing the web. But what if I told you that hour could change our community and ultimately our world?

We can completely change a child's life by giving just a little of our spare time every month. One person can make a difference. Ordinary people are changing children's lives every day, giving of their time and helping develop strong, responsible adults by becoming a Big Brother or Big Sister. Abdul Salvador is excited about starting his journey now as he meets his little brother, Sabor Bowman, for the first time. Big Brother Abdul Salvador said, "I kind of see some of myself in him at that age. I was energetic and wanted to do things. I want to help him to grow as a person. I want to instill that sense of duty that he feels he should do. I want to be that big impact in his life."

Salvador has the kind of attitude the program hopes all volunteers share. John Kendricks, the executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Coastal Empire, added, "I am just hoping that the match lasts. We know that if it lasts at least 6 months, the potential is great. We know that once they get to one year, it's just fantastic all of the differences that it can make in a child's life."

Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Coastal Empire surveyed children in the program or "littles" as they are called and found that they made significant improvements since they were matched with their "bigs" or mentors. Kendricks explained, "We found that our children had improved across the board in reading, math, and science. We found that the average little graduates from high school has an income of well over $50,000. They have better relationships with their families than a lot of non-littles."

You can be a part of this life-changing tradition by giving just a few hours of your time every month. John Kendricks says volunteers are only required to spend 4 hours a month with the children. Big Sister, Sabrina Hansen knows all about it, she said,"Once you start putting the time into to it, you are going get so much back that you are going to want to put the time into it to and get even more out of it."

To become a "big", like Abdul Salvador and Sabrina Hansen, you must be at least 18-years-old and pass a background check including fingerprints, driver's license and criminal history. It might be a little time consuming, but well worth it. Hansen said, "It's like gaining a friend. Who wouldn't want to gain a friend and you get to do cool stuff?"

Big Brothers Big Sisters needs you right now. They have more than 70 children waiting for a match. You can learn more online by visiting

Don't forget to join me tomorrow on The News at 6, I'll share more of Sabrina Hansen's story. She had a big as a child and now she's one. Her life has really come full circle. I believe she will inspire all of us to do our part to help so many young people who just need someone to give them a little time and attention to succeed in the classroom and beyond.

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