Rasmussen College’s Wausau campus recently made a splash with a water park outing for its local Big Brothers Big Sisters chapter.
Participants and their families enjoyed a day at the Grand Lodge Water Park free of charge. Together they splashed through the park’s pools, fountains, and slides with their designated mentors. Rasmussen College staff welcomed pairs of “Bigs” and “Littles” and their families, and even sponsored giveaways throughout the day.
“The families were very appreciative,” said Susie Kraus, Wausau campus program manager. “Many said they would have never had the opportunity to visit this water park without the event.”
Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) is a national non-profit organization that develops one-on-one mentor relationships between children (Littles) and adult volunteers (Bigs). Studies have shown Bigs’ positive influence on Littles greatly reduces their chances of abusing drugs and alcohol. Their influence often leads to educational success, improved confidence, and less risky behavior.
“The families were very appreciative. Many said they would have never had the opportunity to visit this water park without the event.”
Bigs and Littles are matched based on their interests and needs, BBBS Program Director Linda Koepke said. They meet for a few hours each week throughout their year together to have fun, catch up and strengthen their bond.
“Bigs get a lot more out of it than they expect,” Koepke said.
Over the past five years, Rasmussen College sponsored similar events for BBBS. These events are ideal for getting the word out about the program, though 130 Littles are still waiting to be matched at Wausau’s Northcentral Wisconsin location.
Nationally, more than 30,000 children are waiting to be matched. The majority of unmatched Littles are boys in need of positive male role models.
Besides BBBS, Rasmussen College also works with United Way, Special Olympics, Toys for Tots and the American Cancer Society. Each year, Rasmussen College employees participate in Community Service Day, volunteering thousands of service hours.
“Rasmussen College encourages as much volunteering as possible,” said Krause, who was once a Big Sister herself.
From Wausau to Sacramento, BBBS programs spread across the United States. For students interested in getting involved, Krause recommends reaching out to their campus representatives. Koepke also invites students interested in BBBS to call their local office to begin serving their communities.