Big Brothers group wants sponsors in River Parishes

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Editor and Publisher

LAPLACE – Kevin Lewis, chief program officer for the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization made his point very simply.

“Listen to these statistics,” he told the LaPlace Rotary Club at a recent meeting.

** 43 percent of Louisiana children live with no parents with a job.

** 41 percent of Louisiana children live in single parent homes.

** 18 percent live with one high school dropout as a parent.

** 39,000 of Louisiana children have at least one parent in jail.

** 15 percent of Louisiana babies are born to teen mothers. (The national average is 10 percent.)

From there, it was pretty easy to convince his audience that the need for Big Brother Big Sister is larger than ever.

Lewis is the regional director for the program that has been around for 100 years, although many people are not aware the program began that long ago.

He was speaking to the LaPlace Rotary Club since Big Brother Big Sister is beginning to reach out to parishes such as St. John, hoping to find more willing role models for the children.

“Studies tell us that young people today need about seven positive adults in their life to help them get on the right track,” he said. “The problem today is that there are so many fewer options for kids, especially since so many families are not as community minded as in the past. They just aren’t around as many other adults other than their immediate family.”

Lewis said that he can use a single adult or a family to provide some mentoring to children at risk, something that will bring about better grades for these kids, as well as a reduction in alcohol and drug use, less violence and better hope for their future.

“Kids know what they want, but they are children and don’t understand the process of how to get there. Children today need to learn the value of giving, and that’s something a positive role model can provide for them,” he explained.

Lewis said that today’s family is in “survival mode. They are self centered rather than community centered and kids today are under severe peer pressure.”

“I remember when I was a kid, and if I got into trouble, I didn’t just get corrected by my parents, but other relatives too,” he said. “But today you can’t do that.”

He also noted that the access to computers has made trouble so much easier for children to find.

If you are interested in becoming a Big Brother or a Big Sister, contact Lewis at 877-500-7304.