FORT BLISS, Texas - A soldier volunteered with Big Brothers Big Sisters of El Paso, Feb. 5. The program matches a Big, what the program calls their mentors, with a Small, the child, so they are able to learn and grow from each other.
Being involved in BBBS gives back to the El Paso youth and lets the community know the military is here to help. Capt. Brianna Starzell, a physical therapist, in Company D at William Beaumont Army Medical Center devotes her time to Gracieanne Ticer, 12, a student at General Colin Powell Elementary School. They meet at least twice a month and have embarked on a variety of adventures together.
Activities ranging from watching movies, dancing and sleepovers this big and little sister duo have connected and changed each other’s lives.
“What I have gained the most is watching Gracie's ability to love life, be happy, and be herself,” said Startzell. “It’s really cool that I get to be with her, she reminds me of what’s really important in life, not everything has to be perfect.”
She learned to trust in herself and trust who she is from her big sister, Gracie said. It’s about the time we spend together, it’s not what we do.
“They serve as tremendous role models and mentors to the children,” said Rebecca Romero, the marketing coordinator of BBBS, and native of El Paso. “So we are very grateful for the involvement of Fort Bliss soldiers.”
The criteria for a mentor is a background check, a commitment of at least one year, you must be 21 years of age or older, see the child a minimum of twice a month, and is flexible to the mentors’ schedule. For more information on how to become a Big or Little you can contact the Big Brothers Big Sisters of El Paso at 915-544-4203 on 1724 Wyoming Ave., El Paso, Texas.