Big Brothers and Big Sisters helps kids get the support they need

A few hours a month can make a difference in a child’s life.

Did you know that after 18 months of mentoring, at-risk youth are 52 percent less likely to skip school, 46 percent less likely to begin using illegal drugs, and 27 percent less likely to begin using alcohol?

These statistics are reported by Big Brothers and Big Sisters of the Greater Miami Valley. The organization is in the business of facilitating adult/child matches so at-risk youth can have the mentors who are so vitally important to their wellbeing.

“A caring adult in the life of a child ensures that they have the support they need to succeed at home, in school, and ultimately, at work,” said Anne Pfeiffer, CEO, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Miami Valley. “Mentoring connects a young person to personal growth and development, and social and economic opportunity. Yet, one in three youth who need a mentor will grow up without one.”

One of those vital connections was made a little over three years ago. Amy Kollar Anderson of Dayton decided to make a difference in a teen’s life and was matched with Yancy, a 15-year-old in the Dayton Public Schools district.

“I don’t have kids of my own, and wanted to connect with a young person to learn from them and possibly share my art skills and knowledge with them,” said Anderson. “I wanted a creative companion who would help me see the world through new eyes.”

Anderson, who’s proficient in many kinds of art media, got an education in another type of art form, Anime/Manga. Anime is an illustration style with distinctive characters that originated in Japan. Manga is a style of Japanese comic books or graphic novels. These are the art forms that Yancy is interested in.

Anderson is all too happy to indulge her Little in this hobby. The pair attended an Anime Convention in Cincinnati this past March. That same weekend, they enjoyed an ’80s rock show featuring the band Sixteen Candles. They also enjoy visiting many libraries in the Dayton area: the main branch of Dayton Metro Library, Beavercreek Community Library, and Fairborn Community Library.

“We love attending teen programs at the libraries. They call me either the honorary teen or Yancy’s assistant,” said Anderson. “We also attend art classes at Decoy Art, and really appreciate the program Scene 75 offers to BBBS where Yancy has taught me so much about the new video games.”

Anderson and Yancy typically get together about three times a month. For her part, Yancy has appreciated the activities that Anderson has suggested.

“We get to do cool stuff. It was really fun to hike around [Glen Helen Nature Preserve] and visit the shops in Yellow Springs,” said Yancy. “I also liked hiking at Carriage Hill MetroPark because we can see the horses and other farm animals.”

One of Anderson’s favorite memories of outings with Yancy was when they visited the Franklin Conservatory with some of her friends and their daughters.

“We were all having a great time checking out the butterflies when Yancy walks up to me and places a butterfly on my nose,” said Anderson. “Up until that point, she had been a bit guarded with me. That silly gesture warmed my heart and cracked me up.”

BBBS of Greater Miami Valley has a critical need for male mentors at this time; 75 boys are currently waiting for a Big Brother. Visit, call 937-220-6850, or email for more details at

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