Big Brother/Sister gets response

By Mark Gates

NIU students are responding to the community’s need for Big Brothers and Sisters for DeKalb County children.

Susan Petersen, Big Brother/Big Sister program director, said there are more than 40 local children on waiting lists for a Big Brother or Big Sister.

The waiting period for boys wanting Big Brothers is 18 months. Girls wanting Big Sisters might wait up to three months.

To bridge the gap, some NIU fraternities sponsor special events meant to recruit house members and other students into the ranks of Big Brothers and Sisters.

Sigma Pi fraternity sponsored such an event Saturday. The fraternity held a barbecue and an outing for 13 local children in need of Big Brothers or Big Sisters, said Mathew Clemens, house member and event organizer.

Last year, 15 houses participated in “Bowl for Kids,” another event held to increase awareness of Big Brothers/Big Sisters on campus, Petersen said.

About 10 fraternities and sororities have events planned for this semester, she said. Sigma Pi plans to hold two more events this semester, with a larger number of children, Clemens said.

Toni DeBiasio, Delta Zeta sorority president, said they participated in the “Bowl for Kids” and other Big Brother/Big Sister events.

Supporting Big Brothers/Big Sisters can be beneficial for the fraternities and the community, Clemens said. “It couldn’t hurt the Greek system to do something with the Big Brothers/Big Sisters… It’s not dorky to do something for the community.”

Those who wish to become a Big Brother or Sister should contact the Family Service Agency in DeKalb. Volunteers will be required to attend an orientation Oct. 16 at 3:30 p.m. or Oct. 24 at 7 p.m., Petersen said.