United Way's Program Lending a Helping Hand
Kerry Rowland likes to work on engines. But it's his work outside the garage that's changed the mechanics of one Jefferson City family.
"My son graduated high school and I was kind of missing the things we used to do when he was younger," Big Brother Kerry Rowland commented. "I never really expected it to come out the way it did."
About four years ago, Kerry spotted an ad on a bulletin board for Big Brothers Big Sisters, a mentoring group that matches adult volunteers with children primarily from single parent homes.
"They would not have a male role model. There are lots of girls in this family, but not a lot of guys," Grandmother Gertrude Mitchell said.
Kerry went through training to become a big brother, a decision that would change the lives of 16 year old Aireon and 14 year old Aaron.
Little brother Aireon Terrill commented, "We like to go to car shows and he teaches me stuff about school cause he's real good at math. Sometimes, it seems like he's a dad in a way and then in other ways, it seems like he's a big brother but it's real nice to have him around."
"When I worked for the department of revenue, I always donated to the United Way and I was aware of various organizations they helped but little did I realize one day I would have family that they would be contributing toward them," Gertrude said.
A contribution that accounts for more than half of the Missouri Valley Big Brothers Big Sisters budget. This year, the United Way of central Missouri donated $70,000 to Big Brothers Big Sisters. Money that is paid to screen, match, and recruit volunteers like Kerry.
Kerry is celebrating four years as a big brother. Four years of basketball games, fixing old cars, and life lessons that go way beyond how to change the oil.
"If we had a lot more guys like Kerry, I'm sure we'd have a lot more youth who are better prepared for life," Gertrude said.
What matters to the United Way of central Missouri right now is your donation. To contribute to this year's fundraising campaign, you can check out its website at unitedwaycemo.org.