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Big Brother Big Sister Program celebrates 30 years of service

Members of Santa Barbara County’s branch of the “Big Brother Big Sister” mentorship program met in Solvang to celebrate 30 years of community service.

“We just have fun,” said Sandy Grim, who has been partnered with her little Andrea Murray for more than five years.

“She supported me when I just wanted to give up,” said Murray, who will soon graduate high school. The 18-year-old says she would not have made it without her “big.”

“Over the past few months there have been times when I wanted to quit, but she’s pushing me forward and not letting me quit,” said Murray.

This is just one of thousands of positive relationships the non-profit mentorship program helps forge every year.

Adults are screened and paired with a “little,” some of whom come from tough situations at home.

“They spend a few hours a week gardening, playing games, getting to know people outside their family,” said Sarah Rudd, a program manager in Santa Barbara County. She says the interactions between the adults and children are beneficial to both sides, and she sees it everyday.

“They have better relationships at home, they stay away from drugs and alcohol and other risky behaviors. our kids gradate high school, and most go to college.”

Garrison Cox and his wife moved to the area a little over a year ago, and have been with the program for just three weeks.

“We’re really enjoying getting to know our little brother,” Cox said. He knows a lot more about the area than we do so he’s like our little tour guide.”

To get involved, visit their website.

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