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ACT Supports Local “Littles” of Big Brothers Big Sisters with Back-to-School Drive

It’s “back to school” time again, which is a busy time for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Johnson County (BBBS).

A new school year brings with it heavy recruitment for volunteer mentors and outreach to families. It can also be a stressful time for the families we serve—76% of whom qualify for free and reduced lunch. Many are from single-parent homes and a significant number are new to the community or even recently arrived from other countries. Getting ready to send children back to school can stretch already limited resources beyond capacity. However, our 40+ year partnership with ACT has done a lot to alleviate these stressors and improve the lives of youth and families.

For the second year in a row, ACT organized a backpack supplies drive to benefit young people identified by Big Brothers Big Sisters. ACT team members researched the respective school supply lists, shopped according to the specific interests of each child, stuffed backpacks with the needed supplies and “handed them off” to BBBS staff to deliver. This was not a random act or a general school supply drive, this was an intentional effort to provide very intentional relief for families in support of their children’s education.

One of the first deliveries was to a family where much of the caregiving is done by older siblings while the parent is at work. The older sibling who was caring for the child receiving the backpack said, “This is going to save us so much money!” One family remarked how much time this was going to save them, as several bus rides with transfers would have been required to collect all the items.

ACT knows all children can reach their potential, with a little help and a lot of love from people who care. They recognize how partnering with community organizations that provide opportunities for children to succeed—such as Big Brothers Big Sisters—helps level the field for those facing adversity. Research has shown 1:1 mentoring relationships improve social competence, scholastic achievement and avoidance of risky behaviors.

Support to BBBS from ACT comes in many forms: employees volunteering to be “Bigs,” volunteering to serve on the BBBS Board of Directors, supporting fundraising efforts as a sponsor, and being enthusiastic participants at the annual Bowl for Kids’ Sake.

ACT recognizes the value of partnerships, and investing in their community, particularly in young people. No one product, organization, business, school or family can do it alone, and there are many opportunities for individuals to get involved in local community efforts throughout the year. Consider volunteering to be a mentor for your local chapter of Big Brothers Big Sisters or find your own unique way to help your fellow neighbor, and give back to the community in which you live.

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About ACT

ACT is a mission-driven, nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people achieve education and workplace success. Headquartered in Iowa City, Iowa, ACT is trusted as a leader in college and career readiness, providing high-quality assessments grounded in nearly 60 years of research. ACT offers a uniquely integrated set of solutions designed to provide personalized insights that help individuals succeed from elementary school through career.