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Mount Nittany Health Partners with Big Brothers Big Sisters to Empower Youth in Centre County

Mount Nittany Health Partners with Big Brothers Big Sisters to Empower Youth in Centre County

Mount Nittany Health is a proud sponsor of Big Brothers Big Sisters in Centre County. Run by the Youth Services Bureau, Big Brothers Big Sisters is a community mentoring program that matches a volunteer adult mentor to an at-risk child or adolescent. Research has shown that the program can delay or reduce antisocial behaviors; improve academic success, attitudes and behaviors, peer and family relationships; strengthen self-concept; and provide social and cultural enrichment.

The mission of Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) is to provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one relationships that change their lives for the better, forever. Presently, BBBS in Centre County supports 75 Big-Little matches and 24 Littles ready-to-be-matched. Site-based matches meet weekly during the academic year at the child’s school. Community-based matches meet weekly at a time of their own choosing and engage in activities they both enjoy doing. Matches may play a game, go for a walk, toss a ball, or just converse. Littles ready-to-be-matched attend BBBS group activities, such as a Spikes game, trout fishing, and other outings.

Recently, the Centre County Board of Commissions declared January 2024 as Big Brothers Big Sisters Month in Centre County. The proclamation highlighted the impact of the program and the need for volunteer mentors to serve as ‘Bigs.’

According to Christine Bishop, CEO of the Youth Service Bureau, nearly 25 youths are waiting to be matched with a volunteer. “We offer information sessions four times a month for the community to learn more about being a Big,” said Bishop. “Please consider giving your time and getting involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters in Centre County.”

Mount Nittany Health is committed to understanding and addressing the most pressing health and wellness concerns for our community. Every three years Mount Nittany Health conducts a Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) in partnership with community organizations. The most recent CHNA in 2022, identified an increased need for behavioral health issues among youth. Supporting programs in our community such as Big Brothers Big Sisters helps to address this area of need and meet the goals laid out by the advisory committee in the CHNA implementation plan.

According to Kerri Kubalak, Manager of Community Engagement at Mount Nittany Health, “Giving back to the community is so important and is reflected in our mission of, ‘Healthier people, stronger community.’”