Shape a child’s future, be a Big Brother!


ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) – Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Southwest Virginia needs more male volunteers.

There are around one-hundred kids on a waiting list to become mentees through the Big Brother, Big Sister program, 80% of those are boys.

The kids today that live in our city face an enormous amount of adversity, it almost seems that the cards are stacked all against them. We’ve tried a lot of things and the one thing that seems to consistently work on a level that we can prove is mentoring.

Josh Thoemke, CEO- Big Beother, Big Sisters SW Virginia

January is National Mentorship Month and there’s no better way to showcase the positive effects of mentoring than through hearing other’s personal experiences.

Chris Whitley went through an interview, and screening process to become a Big Brother almost six years ago. It was August of 2014 when he met his little brother, Skyler Keil. Both Chris and Skyler say it was the perfect match.

A lot of the kids, they go through different things. Some have family members, some are raised by their grandparents, some are raised by an aunt and uncle. It doesn’t matter what their situation is, they just need maybe that extra person to take them somewhere they’ve never been before.

Chris Whitley, Big Brother

Chris and Skyler have created many cherished memories, Skyler experiencing many firsts alongside Chris.

I had never ate Buffalo Wild wings until he took me, Five Guys, stuff like that. I really enjoyed putt putt, playing him in basketball was probably one of my favorite activities though.

Skyler Keil, Big Brother mentee

Skyler says that some of the things that he enjoys now he would most likely not have gotten involved with had it not been for Whitley.

Skyler is a Senior at William Fleming High School, involved in swimming, and performance arts. He will be aging out of the Big Brother Program in a few weeks.

He was 12 when we started right and now he’s going to turn 18 in a couple of weeks. It’s one of those things that I’ve seen this kid grow up and he’s going to become this man in a couple of weeks. He’s getting his college stuff together and to just see that growth and know that hopefully I’ve played a small part in what he’s become and who he’s going to become in the future and I look forward to seeing that.

Chris Whitley, Big Brother

Though their time with the program is coming to a close, the bond they share will last a lifetime.


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