Stillwater News Press

January 31, 2014

MAKING A DIFFERENCE: Volunteer Big Brother sees value of role models

By Justin Tate
Stillwater NewsPress

STILLWATER, Okla. — NAME: J. Bryson Baker

AGE: 28

VOLUNTEERS: At Big Brothers Big Sisters of Stillwater

DAY JOB: Manager of OrangeTech at Oklahoma State University



What he does



Baker volunteers for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Stillwater as a mentor.

Adult volunteers, or “Bigs,” get matched up with children, or “Littles,” between the ages of 6 and 18. Baker said volunteers can either be a school-based volunteer or a community-based volunteer.

“They have a school-based program where you go to the school and spend some time with the student,” Baker said “The community-based program to me allows you to develop your relationship even more because you interact with each other in a public setting.”

Baker said he and his Little most recently went to a Tulsa 66ers basketball game.

“I can take him and do things like that, that the school-based program doesn’t allow. He’s come over to my house, especially during the summer, and helped me plant trees and do gardening work,” Baker said.



Why it’s important



“I think selfishly there is a lot of pride that comes with it — a lot of self-satisfaction,” Baker said. “I think anybody who says they’re in it just to give something back is maybe a little misguided because there truly is a strong sense of self-fulfillment when you volunteer.”

Baker said he has been matched with his Little for two years, and he has enjoyed the experience of getting to know him.

“I didn’t grow up with a strong male role model,” Baker said.“Now that I’m older, I have realized the value of that and how much of an impact a strong male role model can have, expecially on a young boy.”



How you can help



“Big Brothers Big Sisters needs lots of volunteers, specifically we need men,” Baker said. “We really need men. There are a lot of younger boys out there that really need a mentor. We just desperately need strong-willed men to step up and take on the role of mentor.”

If you are intersted in being a mentor, visit www. bbsok.org or call 405-624-9922. Baker said Big Brothers Big Sisters is a great place to volunteer your time. Baker said the organization has events almost every month. So if being a mentor is not the path for you, you can volunteer at the events.

“Big Brothers Big Sisters is also very flexible,” Baker said. “So if you are married, they do offer a program where you as a married couple can mentor.”



Nominate someone



If you know someone who is giving their time to volunteer efforts, we would like to hear about it. Let us know so that person can be featured in this space. Send a suggestion by email to editor@stwnewspress or call 405-372-5000.