MANITOWOC, Wis. (WFRV) – The “Big Brother Big Sister Wisconsin Shoreline” program is currently dealing with a shortage of mentors. Those involved with the program are encouraging others to give back. 

“200 hundred kids on the wait list is too many, we just need the ‘bigs,’ we got the ‘littles’ we just need the ‘bigs’,” said mentor, Jon Swanson.

Over 200 kids are looking for a mentor. The program is over a hundred years old and focuses on one-on-one mentoring with Wisconsin’s youth. Big brother Jon Swanson says the work of a big in the program is rewarding.

“Being able to be there as a resource that they can go to with questions and even vent their troubles or worries to, it’s been impactful for me,” Swanson said. “But also for them to have somebody to go to it’s really neat to see.” 

 The program’s waitlist is setting a record. Chief executive officer Denise Wittstock says both “Bigs” and “Littles” benefit from spending time together. 

Denise Wittstock said, “You’d be surprised how deep our mentors dig into helping children feel confident about themselves, figuring out fun ways to teach them and help them improve their academic outlook without them even knowing often our ‘bigs’ say they get more out of this program than they think the kids do.”  

To get involved, the program asks those interested to reach out. 

“We like to start that process with a phone call. Five or ten minutes, call our office you’ll talk to one of our professionally trained team and they can answer the questions for you about what kind of programs we offer how much time you may be looking at spending together and it is really something that our bigs tell us all the time has changed their life.”