KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee is creating friendships and changing futures. During National Mentoring Month, the program is celebrating how its volunteers are making a big impact in Little’s lives.  

“Just to see them have so much more confidence and be so comfortable with each other. It just makes your face light up. It’s exciting,” Alanna McKissack said.

McKissack was a “Big” for several years before serving as the program’s Chief Development Officer. She says their mission is to create and support one-to-one mentoring relationships.

“Match a caring adult with a child in our region and support that relationship to make sure it is healthy, and it is thriving and helps that child reach their full potential once they’ve graduated high school and moved on to young adulthood,” McKissack said. 

There are over 350 active matches in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. Mentors are expected to commit roughly four to six hours with their “Little” each month. 

“Bigs” spend time with their “Littles” in and out of school or at the Bo Shafer Mentoring Center for events. 

“For a child, we see improvement in academics and goals, improvement in confidence, their mental health, their decision making. Fully getting to that next stage in life and feeling supported and having a support system,” McKissack said. 

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McKissack says it is a big commitment, but successful mentorship can change lives. 

Visit tennesseebig.org to learn more about enrolling your child to be matched with a mentor or to apply to become a “Big.”