Want to be a mentor?
Big Brothers Big Sisters needs you
Apollo Burgamy’s story with Big Brothers Big Sisters starts in 2003. His undergraduate advisor was a mentor in the program and encouraged Burgamy to volunteer. In 2013, after serving time in the Navy and traveling around the world, Burgamy moved back to the Salt Lake area and decided to finally apply.
He says the most rewarding part of being a mentor has been bonding with his Little Brother, especially through their first hike together. After being matched in the after-school program, the Big and Little pair decided they did not want to wait three months between school years to see each other again. They decided to enroll in the community-based program, which allows for Bigs to take their little to activities in and out of town. Burgamy took his Little to Lower Bell Canyon. After the strenuous hike, they sat at the Reservoir Lake and chatted. In just a half hour, Burgamy says, he learned more about his Little then he had in the 10 months of being in the after-school program with him.
“We’re looking for volunteers from all walks of life,” says Burgamy, who is now the organization’s volunteer and alumni coordinator.
Big Brothers Big Sisters is particularly interested in volunteers who can speak multiple languages, since many of the Littles in the program are either refugees or first-generation Americans.
Burgamy says there is also a strong need for volunteers from the arts community as the Utah chapter has many Littles with interests in dance, singing, photography and creating.
Some of his favorite activities to enjoy with his Little are visiting art museums and gallery strolls. “It’s cool to be able to introduce art in different forms to your Little and help them get an understanding on what’s available to them,” he says.
Burgamy sees a connection between the call for artistic volunteers and the current educational trend from STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) to STEAM, which adds the component of art and design.
Volunteering requires a minimum 12-month commitment. A community-based program allows the Big and Little to do activities around the town such as visiting museums, walking in parks or going on hikes. Big Brothers Big Sisters partners with the Share Tix Foundation, which provides tickets to events to area organizations and nonprofits that serve youth.
A separate after-school program has mentors and mentees working in a group setting and engaging in activities. Six Salt Lake County schools participate in this program.
In a third option, Mentor 2.0, mentors and mentees communicate through an online platform and meet in person once a month. The mentees are all high school students in Murray. u
For more information on how to become a volunteer, visit bbbsu.org/