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CONNECTING NORTH ALABAMA: Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Tennessee Valley

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WAAY-31 is connecting North Alabama community groups with people who can help them recover from the economic pinch of the coronavirus pandemic.

Building America’s future is no small task, yet Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Tennessee Valley tackles that challenge without flinching.

It helps youth reach for and achieve their dreams by pairing them with mentors — men and women they can look up to who can inspire them to aim higher and reach further. In this way, Big Brothers Big Sisters aims to help boost kids’ confidence, help them build better relationships and help steer them away from trouble.

The parent organization began in the early 1900s as two groups, one working with boys and the other with girls. The groups went on to become Big Brothers Association and Big Sisters International before joining forces to become Big Brothers Big Sisters of America in 1977.

Today, the Tennessee Valley chapter works with children in the Huntsville area to help them recognize and fulfill their potential, but the pandemic has made it harder to raise money and find volunteers.

“We only ask for an hour a week,” Michelle Linville, CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Tennessee Valley, said. “You don’t need any special skill.”

Linville said for each Big Brother or Big Sister, there’s likely a child out there with similar interests just waiting for their chance to grow with a mentor.

“Whether you see it immediately or not, you are making a life-changing effect on that child,” Linville said.

And for those who aren’t able to volunteer, the nonprofit is always seeking donations. According to its website, financial contributions can be made in the form of cash, check, credit card or electronic transfer, or you can donate by participating in events, sponsoring events or providing in-kind donations.

To learn more about the organization and how to help, click here.

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