Big Brothers Big Sisters to form a branch in Natchitoches


Submitted by Amanda Gary

Nita Wildbur (top row, second from left), Kalli Christ (top row, third from left) and Amanda Gary (bottom row, third from left)

Big Brothers Big Sisters is an organization that provides children with a mentorship program for emotional and social development, as well as an opportunity for citizens to serve the community. The organization is extending to Natchitoches, Louisiana to form a satellite branch of Acadiana.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of America began in 1904. The non-profit organization is recognized as an intervention measure for behavior, with close to 240 branches across the nation. As the organization forms its branch in Natchitoches, Big Brothers Big Sisters is in need of adult volunteer mentors to be Big Brothers and Big Sisters.

Kalli Christ, the CEO of the Acadiana Branch, has been a member of Big Brothers Big Sisters for 10 years. Christ joined the organization to work in a non-profit, but has moved up to the CEO position.

Christ noted that anyone over 18 can volunteer to be a mentor and they will be matched with their Little to begin the mentorship process to begin empowering children to graduate high school with a plan and a future.

“Without the volunteers, we can’t do the matches within the community and serve kids, so having volunteers is critical to our mission and impacting kids in the community,” Christ said.

Volunteers will be asked to make a 12-month commitment, but Christ noted that most of the mentorships in the organization will last longer than the initial 12 months. Volunteers can meet with their Little outside of their school, at their school or at the Boys and Girls club, an affiliate of Big Brothers Big Sisters.

“The longer and stronger the monitoring relationships are for kids, the more likely they are going to experience positive outcomes,” Christ said.

Christ made the point that for a community to thrive its kids need to thrive. One of the organization’s many functions is being a prevention measure for children, steering the future community away from youth violence.

“We hear a lot from our volunteers, they didn’t realize they would be so positively impacted by the program and the mentoring relationship as they are,” Christ said.

Amanda Gary, the events and marketing manager, has been a Big Sister for the organization for three years and has worked for the organization for one year. Gary noted that the commitment involved with being a mentor is not difficult.

“It’s the little things that can make a huge difference in their lives,” Gary said.

Gary mentioned the ways a mentor can be involved with their mentee. For instance, Gary began her mentorship by meeting with her Little over FaceTime during COVID-19.

“It doesn’t take as much as people think it does. You can get so much out of it as a volunteer just learning things from the kids, as well,” she said.

Nita Wildbur, the office manager, has worked for Big Brothers Big Sisters for one year.

“This job is the best thing that ever happened to me,” Wildbur said.

Wildbur recognized the organization for what it does for children.

“It changes their lives, it can definitely directly impact them to where they steer into the right direction, they get help with school, and it builds confidence,” Wildbur said.

Wildbur noted the other activities the organization hosts for the children that provide for the families.

“You just have to be a caring adult who is looking to give back to the community and make an impact through mentorship,” Christ said.

If interested, volunteers can access more information at