Digital Exclusive: Local non-profit sees increasing challenge of getting “big brothers”

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SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – One local non-profit is seeing a bigger challenge of getting “big brothers” for the younger kids in Siouxland.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Siouxland is experiencing an increasing problem of trying to have “big brothers.”

“I think one of the biggest misconceptions of our program is that it takes a lot of time. Research shows that it only takes about four hours a month to significantly impact a young child’s life,” said Kristie Arlt, executive director.

Kristie Arlt, executive director for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Siouxland, said the pandemic caused them to cancel all of their outside recruiting efforts.

But with restrictions lifted, they can now have match meetings and talk to men in the community about the benefits of mentoring.

“It was another way for me to give back and help a different segment of society, I guess. I always grew up kind of knowing about the program but never really volunteered or anything. So, once I moved back, I figured it was a good opportunity to get involved and to see where I can help out,” said Tyler Kruse, a ‘big brother.’

Tyler Kruse has been a “big brother” for the non-profit for six years and said the non-profit has “bigs” go through a questionnaire to match you to your “littles.”

“But when I actually became a ‘big’ and got matched, I realized that I’m getting as much out of it as he was. So, it really kind of brought me back down to earth, and you realized everyone’s situation is different and some kids, they don’t choose how they grow up, they don’t choose what lifestyle they have,” said Kruse.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Siouxland have a waiting list of boys who are in need of a “big brother,” with some of them waiting for more than two years.

“Most of the children that come into Big Brothers Big Sisters come from a one-parent household. Most of the time, it’s a mom in the household that is really looking for a male influence in their son’s life,” said Arlt.

Arlt mentions that a big goal for the non-profit this year is focusing on being out in the community more often to encourage men to be a mentor.

For more information on becoming a big brother or big sister, visit the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Siouxland’s website.

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