LUBBOCK, Texas — Lubbock Big Brothers Big Sisters celebrated their 50th anniversary Thursday. The organization has been serving the Lubbock community since 1970, connecting hundreds of children with mentors during that time.
“We started pretty humbly, 50 years ago, in a duplex,” said Big Brothers Big Sisters Program Coordinator Leia Arteaga. “People made sacrifices to get us where we are, 50 years later, we’re thriving and a big part of this community.”
With a mission to spark growth and build the potential of children in the Lubbock community, the nonprofit said it had served multiple generations of ‘Bigs’ and ‘Littles’ in the program.
“I do have one of our fathers that was a little in ’91…still keeps in touch with his big brother. And then he brought his children back because he saw the benefits,” said Arteaga. “There are several of our parents that have brought their children back to our program because of the benefits that they had as children.”
Arteaga explained the program has been very beneficial for the Lubbock community.
“We know that the children of this community can achieve great things. And we know that with another positive person in their life, the odds of that are just exponential,” she said. “Just having another person in your life decreases the chance that these children will explore drugs or alcohol, and that they have better relationships with family members.”
Although ‘Bigs’ and ‘Littles’ haven’t been able to meet in person over the past few months, Arteaga said they are still staying in touch by meeting online. They’ve even been able to match some ‘Bigs’ and ‘Littles’ virtually.
“It’s actually been really great,” said Arteaga. “I’ve gotten some positive feedback from the families, saying that, you know, having another person even virtually has made such a big impact on their child. So it’s been pretty amazing to see.”
‘Bigs’ said being a part of a child’s growth is priceless.
“My favorite part of Big Brothers Big Sisters is just seeing my little brother really grow and develop as a person gained some character,” said Hunter Sutterfield, a Big Brother. “He makes better decisions. He has better habits. And I’m just glad to be a part of this journey.”
The organization had a drive-thru celebration Thursday, handing out free snow cones to those who came by. They are also holding a T-shirt drive to celebrate their 50th anniversary. If you’re interested in contributing or getting involved as a ‘Big’ you can get more information on their website.