The Unit 40 Mentorship Program and Effingham County Big Brothers Big Sisters held their Christmas parties Thursday, gathering mentors, children and families together.
The gathering at the Effingham Performance Center, which featured refreshments, opportunities for family pictures and a performance of "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" by Three Chicks and a Stage.
"It's just a wonderful night," said Christy Mesnard, program coordinator for Big Brothers Big Sisters in Effingham County. "We all get to come out and have a little fun. A lot of these kids might not have the opportunity to normally come to the Performing Arts Center and it's a nice way to all gather together."
The night provides something of an end-of-the-year gathering for all those involved with the program and a time to reflect on the year.
"It's helped me with my schooling," said Kameron Myers, who has had a mentor for five years. "I have somebody to talk to."
The night also gives mentors a chance to see the families they have effected through the program.
"I mentor a little boy at Central Grade School," said Rick Bullard of Altamont. "We're buddies. We have a really good relationship. He just needs to have somebody to talk to. He needs a friend so for lunch, we can do or talk about whatever he wants."
Bullard said the program has given him a way to impact a student's life in a very real way.
"You just never know what kind of life a kid has," he said. "If I can help him with anything, that's great."
While local mentoring programs have assisted hundreds of students, Mesnard said the Big Brothers Big Sisters still has a waiting list for children in need of a mentor.
Although help is still needed, Mesnard said the community has been very supportive of all local mentoring programs, as well as the Christmas Party.
"We really want to thank Three Chicks and a Stage and the Effingham Performance Center for all they've done," she said. "We just really appreciate all they've done."
Jackson Adams can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 131, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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