The best way to help the poor
It’s going to be called the Ben Talley Leadership Program. It will begin at Bristol Virginia High School soon.
No, I didn’t name it. Tyler Boldin, the CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of East TN, did the naming.
The program will pair outstanding local high schoolers with needy elementary children within the community. As mentors.
Everyone needs a mentor. There are no “completely self-made” people. We all needed someone to show us the way. All of us. Virtually everyone can name someone who showed them “the way” in life. Most of us were blessed to have a family member (some of us had more than one) who did exactly that.
But there are many children (countless children) who do not have a good role model/mentor in any shape or form. And when a child does not have such a person directly in their lives, how can we possibly expect them to grow up and become givers instead of takers?
However. There. Is. A. Way. A proven way.
Big Brothers Big Sisters is the most nationally acclaimed youth mentoring system in America. I am serving as a board member - and we now have an office right here in Bristol.
When I first retired from public school teaching in 2020, I briefly formed a non-profit that would focus on finding good mentors for local children in need. A lifetime of experience working directly with needy children and families told me this was the Big Answer to family poverty and apathy; finding a good mentor for children while they are still young.
Then I realized, “Why re-invent the wheel? I could help bring Big Brothers Big Sisters to Bristol. They already have everything anyone could ever want to build lasting, safe, and meaningful mentorships for local children.”
Telling stories is perhaps the best way to convey any big idea. (Hence, the name of this publication.) So I will tell you a very brief “hometown story” right now.