PUBLISHED: 4:15 PM on Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Southeast Alaskans win prizes for referring "Bigs"
300 more volunteers needed in Southeast in 2008
Four lucky Southeast Alaskans were prize winners in the recent "Refer-a-BIG Contest" sponsored by Big Brothers Big Sisters. They became eligible for prize drawings in their communities by referring one or more people who qualified to be Big Brothers or Big Sisters by the deadline of Dec. 15.

Winners were Karen Schmidt (Juneau) who won a $300 gift card from Foggy Mountain Shop; Sara Simeral (Ketchikan) who won a package of prizes worth $300 donated by Petro Marine Services, Skinner Sales and Service, and GCI which she donated to an auction to benefit a local family; Alexandra Feit (Haines) who won two framed fine art prints worth $310 donated by Catotti and Goldberg Art Studio; and Caitlin Reichelderfer (Sitka) who won a $300 gift card from Mac's Sporting Goods.

Reichelderfer also won the regional grand prize of a 20,000 mile award ticket on Alaska Airlines for referring the most people who became ready to be matched as "Bigs" by the deadline.

During the fall 2007 contest period, 111 Southeast Alaska residents inquired about becoming Big Brothers and Big Sisters. Friends of BBBS were asked to suggest the names of people they felt could share a little time and make a big difference in a child's life.

Courtesy Photo
  Sitka Refer-a-BIG Contest drawing winner Caitlin Reichelderfer (right) receives her Mac's Sporting Good gift card from BBBS Sitka Resource Board member Marcie Hattan. Reichelderfer, a Jesuit Volunteer, also won the regional prize of an Alaska Airlines ticket for referring the most people who became eligible to be matched as Big Brothers and Big Sisters during the contest.
National research shows Big Brothers Big Sisters' program of one-to-one, friendship-based mentoring has proven, measurable, and lasting impacts on "Littles" and that those children are more likely to graduate from high school and avoid violence and substance abuse.

To match the number of children wanting a "Big" in Southeast Alaska, about 300 new volunteers will be needed around the region this year.

"We hope more of our friends will refer great people to us this year," said Betsy Brenneman, Director of Recruitment and Partnerships in Juneau.

"Many of our enthusiastic "Bigs" were first encouraged to apply by someone who knew them and believed in our mission of helping kids reach their potential through professionally-supported friendships with caring adults."

Being a Big Brother or Big Sister takes a few hours a couple of times a month doing things both the "Little" and "Big" like to do together out in the community or meeting for one hour a week during the school year at the child's school.

Big Brothers Big Sisters served 587 children in Southeast Alaska in 2007 through programs in Juneau, Ketchikan, Sitka, Haines, Hoonah, Skagway and Yakutat.