Big Brothers, Sisters Seek Area Volunteers

Although the number of volunteers has risen during Big Brother/Big Sister Month, the Valley still has the greatest need in Los Angeles County for mentors to spend time with young children, organization officials said.

"In a sense, we're a business competing for everybody else's volunteers," said Joanne Leinow, director of Big Brother/Big Sister volunteer efforts.

The need to find volunteers is the main reason behind Big Brother/Big Sister Month, which began Mother's Day, May 10, and will end Father's Day, June 21.

The month is a united effort of four agencies: Jewish Big Brothers, Catholic Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Los Angeles and Big Brothers of Greater Los Angeles.

At least 250 Valley kids, ages 6 to 12, are awaiting a big brother or big sister, Leinow said. It takes a while to find the right people because the screening process is extensive, she said.

Perspective volunteers undergo a lengthy background check and personality profile to help the agency match a child with a mentor, Leinow said.

"It usually takes two to three months to go through the steps," Leinow said. "We have to find people with the patience to wait."

On June 28, Big Brothers/Big Sisters will host a recruiting session from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at AMF Woodlake Lanes, 23130 Ventura Blvd. in Woodland Hills.

For more information about Big Brother/Big Sister programs, call (800) 453-KIDS.

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