FORT WAYNE – Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Indiana has reason to celebrate achieving a goal of matching 1,972 children with adult mentors this year.
It was a large goal, which required us to grow by 13 to 15 percent, said Josette Rider, chief executive officer of Big Brothers Big Sisters.
Although we are usually able to grow by 10 percent, 13 percent was questionable, she said.
Founded locally in 1972, the organization set the goal in honor of its anniversary and cofounder Don Wolf, Rider said.
The number was attained Dec. 12 when a 13-year-old girl was matched with an adult mother of five who works at Parkview Hospital, Rider said.
The organization, which serves northeast Indiana, matches more children with mentors than any of its bigger counterparts such as Indianapolis, Cincinnati or even Chicago, said Wolf, who in addition to helping found the group, also served as its first president.
Im very proud of Big Brothers Big Sisters, Wolf said. Josette Rider has put together a great team.
Wolf became involved in the organization after growing up with adult mentors who made a difference in his life, he said.
His parents died when he was a young boy and he was lucky to have people who helped him and looked out for him, he said.
Wolf was named Humanitarian of the Year in April by the American Red Cross of Northeast Indiana and is the retired CEO and president emeritus of Do it Best Corp.
He also founded Study Connection – a student mentoring and tutoring program – in 1989. Wolf saw a need to mirror what Big Brothers Big Sisters was doing in Fort Wayne by pairing students with adult role models but wanted to include an academic aspect.
Everyone there has done such a great job, Wolf said of the Big Brothers Big Sisters team. They are helping a lot of kids.