High school students mentor younger generation


Grace Stermer

Junior Makenzie Johnson (r) takes a walk with her little sister as part of the Big Brother Big Sister Program.

Jordynn Thomas and Grace Stermer

Grace Stermer, News Writer

Montevallo High School students will travel to the elementary school every Wednesday to mentor children as part of the Big Brothers Big Sisters program.

“Big Brothers Big Sisters is important because it teaches our ‘bigs’ the power of mentorship and giving back and provides a unique avenue for service,” guidance counselor Cheryl Allen said. “Our elementary students benefit because they get an opportunity to interact with older students who show care and concern for them even though they may be of no relation. Our ‘bigs’ are also often able to help them work through things in a way that adults cannot. I think that aspect sometimes goes unnoticed.”

The high school students involved, or “bigs,” are made up of juniors and seniors who display exemplary character and have shown an interest in making a difference in the lives of of the younger generation.

“I hope to gain better people skills and learn how to help people in the different situations that they go through,” junior Madison Childress said.

This year’s group includes seniors Kala Ryans, Kiara Lilly, Dakota Dubose, Maya Zeigler, Taylor Sellers, Caleb Cottingham and Emri Hannah, as well as, juniors Jessie Evans, Madison Childress, Mikayla Cardwell, and Makenzie Johnson.

“I wanted to get involved in Big Brothers Big Sisters because I wanted to have an impact on a child’s life,” Johnson said.

Last week, the “Bigs” were introduced to their “Littles” for the first time.

“I enjoyed meeting my ‘little’ and seeing how excited she was to see that she has a big sister and that there’s someone in her life who actually cares,” Cardwell said.

Montevallo became a part of the Big Brothers Big Sisters program in 2013.

“I’ve been with Big Brothers Big Sisters for sixteen years,” Shelby County Program Director Kim Egan said. “I actually started with Big Brothers Big Sisters in Birmingham, and then I opened up the Shelby County office three years ago. I’ve seen it affect both the ‘bigs’ and the ‘littles,’ the ‘littles’ because they actually get a mentor- someone that can come over and actually meet with them, but also, it helps the ‘bigs’ because they have to take on that responsibility of being a leader and being a mentor for the children at the elementary school.”