Julie Webb knew she wanted to volunteer as a “big sister” and mentor. But as a working mother of two, she was afraid of commitment.
“I wasn’t sure if I would have enough time to do this outside of work,” she said. “So when we started the Beyond School Walls program, I thought this would be a great opportunity to volunteer and mentor at work.”
Her employer, Mid Penn Bank, has signed up to participate in the Beyond School Walls program, which brings high school students into the workplace every two weeks during school and work hours.
“It was very worth it,” Webb said.
She immediately formed a relationship with Cassandra Zart, the elder of the Susquehanna community.
“It’s been really rewarding to see that a woman can hold such a high position in her career and at the same time be a great mother who is involved in her community and passionate about empowering youth,” said Zart.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of the capital region say that more than 100 children like Zart are currently waiting for a mentor.
Spokesperson Krystina Shultz says Zart and Webb are proof the program is working. But for it to continue to work, people have to step up.
“You don’t have to have any experience with children,” Shultz said. “You don’t have to feel like you’re at a certain point in your life. All we ask is that you take your time. Everything else falls into place. Just be there to listen.”
Webb has helped organize college tours for Zart.
“She has a very bright future ahead of her,” Webb said. “I hope our relationship doesn’t end when she graduates in the spring.”
And Zart says because of her “big sister,” not only is she more organized, but she’s also more focused on her future.
“I really want to say ‘thank you’ to Miss Julie for being my ear to speak to and my words of wisdom and my voice of reason,” Zart said.
“With pleasure,” Webb replied.
If you are interested in learning more about mentoring opportunities with Big Brothers Big Sisters, including the Beyond School Walls program, you can visit their website by clicking on it here.
https://www.abc27.com/community/mommy-minute/mommy-minute-100-kids-waiting-for-mentors/ Over 100 children are waiting for mentors