To the editor:

I write to express my gratitude to United Way of Putnam County, and to the entire community, for your support of Big Brothers Big Sisters and our 1-to-1 mentoring programs.

Thanks to you:

We match kids who have incarcerated parents.

We match kids who are involved in the juvenile justice system. We want to turn them around now!

We serve more schools and serve them better. This year, high school mentors will be mentoring elementary students at Fort Jennings, Ottawa Elementary, Ottoville and Pandora-Gilboa.

We are making plans to bring the law enforcement community and students together in “Badges for Baseball,” a program where officers and kids learn and play together and break down barriers.

With United Way support- since 1982 – Big Brothers Big Sisters has transformed the lives of hundreds of Putnam County youth. The most recent data based on teacher surveys in our school-based programs disclosed:

82 percent showed improvement in self-confidence

71 percent had a better attitude toward school

54 percent demonstrated academic improvement

64 percent got along better with their classmates

80 percent gained a sense of belonging to their schools

The teachers also write comments about the students (such as: “She needs to have positive relationships with others. Her mentor was very encouraging and gave her someone to talk to about her life”) and I wish there was sufficient space to share those thoughts. Suffice it to say, without you none of this would be possible.

And so I thank you again for your generous support of United Way of Putnam County. Together, we will continue to change lives and build a stronger community.

Sincerely,

John B. Neville

Executive Director

Big Brothers Big Sisters, Ottawa