Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Louisiana is recruiting caring adults to pair with youth who are on a waiting list for a mentor. The agency is launching a recruitment campaign for its community-based program that will run through August. The purpose is to recruit Big mentors, with a focus on minority males.
In the community-based mentoring program, Bigs commit to spending time with their Little a minimum of twice a month and to doing activities together in the community — activities such as going to the park, playing sports and learning new skills.
The main focuses of this program are to spend time together, to talk, to build meaningful relationships, all in the cause of creating and developing a one-to-one mentoring relationship between the Big and Little. Evidence shows that youths paired with Bigs are more likely than others to be promoted to the next grade and less likely to be involved in the juvenile justice system.
“During this time of social distancing, with many school and summer activities having been cancelled, the youth in our community are facing adversity at a higher level — especially youth of color. Over 45 percent of our Littles are young black men while less than 10 percent of our mentors are black. Let’s change that statistic and defend the potential of youth of color,” said Erin Davison, executive director of BBBS-SWLA.
Leaders of the campaign hope to recruit 60 volunteer mentors by August 31. Visit bbbsswla.org/60-for-60 or call 478-5437. Groups or organizations who are interested in helping or getting involved with the “60 for 60” recruitment campaign can contact Alex Stinchcomb, marketing and development manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 337-478-5437, ext. 114.
New Main Street Program Website
Louisiana business owners can visit the Main Street Recovery Program’s new website louisianamainstreet.com to find out whether they might be eligible to receive up to $15,000 in grant money. The funds are intended to help cover COVID 19-related expenses. “We expect this money to go fast, so you need to be ready to apply,” said State Treasurer John M. Schroder.
The new website has key information (such as which documents you will need) and answers to commonly asked questions. If you go there, you can take a simple quiz to find out whether your business may be eligible.
The funds are being distributed as a result of Act 311, which set aside $275 million for the Main Street Recovery Program. Priority will be given to businesses that didn’t receive federal assistance or insurance payments earlier in the COVID period. The program plans to award $40 million to businesses owned by veterans, minorities and women.
Online Play Day
Lafayette’s Hilliard Art Museum is presenting an Online Play Day that provides creative online activities that children can undertake with their families. Children can scroll down the list of activities; find one that looks intriguing; and click the button for it.
They can do any or all of the following 16 activities.
• Learn about colors with Theracare (Music therapist Vanessa Thomas sings and talks about colors and sign language.)
• Go on a doodle vacation (Use the Markup feature on a smartphone’s photo app to transform the appearance of a photo of yourself or of anything else.)
• Draw what you see around you
• Make artwork with ice cubes (Dye water in an ice cube tray with various food colors. Later, make art with the ice cubes.)
• Create a party hat with recycled materials (There’s a detailed list of instructions; adult supervision is very helpful with this one.)
• Make a family portrait collage (Cut out any printed materials to make figures that look like family members.)
• Read a story with the library (Children’s librarian Anna Braud reads The Woods.)
• Create nature art (Make art from materials you find in your yard.)
• Sing some silly songs with The Music Garden (Featuring singer Melissa Stevens.)
• Decorate and send mail art (Begin by printing postcards designed by The Hilliard.)
• Go on a scavenger hunt
• Make your own paint (You’ll need flour, salt, food coloring and an egg carton.)
• Create some Play Day decorations (Print out Hilliard’s designs and make bunting. You’ll need a hole punch.)
• Make your own chalk drawing (Hilliard Art Museum’s Chris Pavlik gives tips.)
• Coloring sheets for everyone
• Create a family tableau inspired by George Rodrigue with the PACE program.
To get started, visit hilliardmuseum.org/play-day-the-hilliard-at-home.
If participants want to post a record of their results, they can tag @HilliardMuseum on Instagram and use #HilliardAtHome and #ExperienceTheArtsRemotely. And they can post photos of their experience on the event’s Facebook page.
Little Free Pantries
The Little Free Pantries movement is active in the Lake area. The pantries are small (often about three feet by three feet) wooden boxes sitting on poles in public places. Boxes contain canned goods, flour, sugar, water and other staples. But David Spicer, the president of the Sulphur Community Impact Program, told KPLC-TV there are also plenty of items for hygiene, such as “shampoo, conditioner, body wash, soap.”
“We partnered with churches and schools because they have a lot of voice in the community,” said Spicer.
The movement’s motto is “Give what you can. Take what you need.”
The Little Free Pantries, also called “Blessing Boxes,” are located at:
• Our Lady’s School on Cypress Street
• Maplewood Church of Christ on Beverly Place
• First Baptist Church of Sulphur on S. Huntington
• Our Lady of LaSalette Catholic Church on N. Claiborne Street
• The corner of N. Perkins Ferry Road and Stafford Street
• Bronco Lane by the Sheriff’s Office.
• Zion Tabernacle Baptist Church
• St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church.