Each year Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Arkansas recognizes two mentors who have shown exceptional service to the agency and to their mentee. This year, the organization is proud to recognize Alan Cole and Misti Snow. Both are volunteers who have dedicated their time to support their Littles, inevitably making a lasting impact on their lives. Both mentors were chosen as 2011 Big Brother and Big Sister of the Year from the community-based mentoring program offered by the local agency. Both recipients have been honored individually for their commitment.
Community-based mentoring is the traditional Big Brothers Big Sisters program and is open to anyone over the age of 18 who is able to make a one year commitment to meeting with a child 2-4 times per month. Children are matched in one-to-one relationships with volunteer mentors in this program. The volunteers take time out of their busy lives to spend with a child, showing them that they truly matter!
“We know that the simple act of putting a caring adult in a child’s life has a positive impact”, says Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Arkansas Executive Director, Erin Rongers. “A recent study shows that adults mentored as children through Big Brothers Big Sisters are more likely than peers with similar backgrounds, but who were not involved in the program, to have a four-year college degree. They are also more likely to be engaged in their community and hold leadership positions. This is an amazing impact reached in part by outstanding mentors such as these Bigs of the Year.”
The 2011 Big Brother and Sister of the Year are Alan Cole and Misti Snow.
Alan lives in Fayetteville with his wife Allison and works for Colliers International. Alan and his Little, Kolby, met almost four years ago when Kolby was 8 years old. Kolby lives with his mom and younger brother and really needed a man in his life to look up to and spend time with. That is when Alan entered the picture. Over the past four years, Alan and Kolby have discovered that they both love sports: basketball, baseball and football. Kolby plays all three and Alan is a big supporter, showing up to cheer Kolby on at practices and games. They also like to eat pizza together, play video games, especially the Wii, and go bowling. They have attended several Bowl for Kids’ Sake events to help support the agency. Kolby’s favorite thing to do with Alan though is to just sit somewhere and talk. Having a good friend who is willing to listen has meant so much to Kolby. Kolby describes Alan as a “really, really good Big Brother!” Alan and Kolby have recorded a Public Service Announcement for our agency that ran on local radio stations. Kolby said that it was “a lot of fun” to be involved in that. Alan also serves our agency by being a part of our Board of Directors. Alan exemplifies all of the qualities looked for in a Big Brother to make a match successful. That is why he was chosen as the 2011 Big Brother of the Year.
Misti is engaged to be married in April to John McGowan. She works for Professional Business Systems. Misti has been matched with her Little Sister, Elizabeth, for over four years now. Elizabeth was six the day they met. Now at ten, Elizabeth loves to do all sorts of things with Misti. They enjoy bowling, eating together at Chick-Fil-A and Chuck E Cheese, going to Lokomotion to play mini-golf and ride go karts, baking cookies and attending Naturals baseball games. Misti has a little dog that Elizabeth loves to spend time with and go to the park on walks with. Last year they even threw the dog a birthday party! For Elizabeth’s birthday this past year, Misti took her to Build-a-Bear. They had so much fun making a bear together. Elizabeth got to take it home and keep it to help remind her of their special day together. Elizabeth lives with her mom, sister and brother. She really needed someone who could spend extra one on one time with her. Misti has done a terrific job of providing that friendship for Elizabeth. Elizabeth describes her Big Sister as “nice and pretty.” Misti and Elizabeth have participated in several agency sponsored activities including Bowl for Kids’ Sake, Holiday parties and Razorback baseball and basketball activities. Misti is a terrific example of what a Big Sister should strive to be. She has had commitment to the relationship she formed with Elizabeth, always following through and doing what she says she will do. She is kind, caring and goes out of her way to have a fun, active friendship with Elizabeth. This is why Misti was chosen as the 2011 Big Sister of the Year.
Want to be a part of something big? Contact Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Arkansas at 479-756-5683 or visit www.bbbsnwa.org for additional information.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Arkansas changes the way vulnerable children see the world and interact with it. We depend on donations to ensure child safety and provide support for children, families and volunteers to build and sustain strong relationships. Our programs are proven to reduce a child’s risk of dropping out of school, becoming violent, using drugs and alcohol, and falling victim to other negative cycles that threaten our society. Headquartered in Springdale and providing services to Benton and Washington County, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Arkansas serves approximately 350 children per year. Learn how you can help change how children grow up in Northwest Arkansas by going to bbbsnwa.org.