Boys in 'urgent' need of positive male role models in Roanoke Valley

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Virginia needs Bigs

ROANOKE, Va. – Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Virginia is in need of a few good men. 

There are dozens of boys in our area without a father figure who are now on a waiting list for a male role model. 

Any man will tell you how important it is for a boy to have a male role model. 

"My father passed away when I was six, so I got an understanding of not having a father figure in your life," said Tony Hendricks.

That's why Hendricks, despite having raised three successful adult children, decided to give back and become a Big Brother. 

"Growing up it's something that I look back knowing that I didn't have," he said. "It makes me feel good knowing that I can give that to him." 

It's been proven to make a difference. Kids in the organization have reduced truancy, improved test scores, and all have been kept out of the justice system. 

For the organization, the need for Big Brothers like Hendricks is now greater than ever. 

Program Director Beth Reedy says finding Big Brothers is one of their biggest challenges. 

Reedy says 75 percent of the kids on waiting lists for Bigs are boys. Six of them are in urgent need. 

"The six boys that I have right now, a lot of them are being raised by their grandparents," Reedy said. "A lot of them have incarcerated parents."

Reedy says one boy's dad is missing and his mom is in and out of the Roanoke Rescue Mission. 

"For him to have the opportunity, someone to help encourage him in a positive way, it would just make the biggest difference," Reedy said. 

It only takes several hours a month to become a Big Brother. The organization is having an open house Tuesday and Wednesday at the Oliver Hill House from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

You can also click here to learn more about the program.

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