United Way

Creating Strong and Enduring Relationships That Improves The Lives Kids Facing Adversity

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UNITED WE WIN by changing the lives of children facing adversity. United Way of Jackson County supports community-based mentorship through Big Brothers Big Sisters. This program provides these kids with strong and enduring, professionally reinforced, one-on-one relationships that change their lives for the better. Bigs are encouraged to promote health, wellness and financial stability, among other life skills, for the Little during their relationship. Currently 156 Littles are matched with a Big. Kalayjha is one of those Littles whose life will be changed for the better because of her relationship with Emily.

Emily is a 31-year-old financial analyst from Consumers Energy. She has traveled quite a bit after graduating from MSU with her finance degree. Emily is smart, funny, kind and down to earth. She enjoys sports and being outside. She decided to join Big Brothers Big Sisters of Jackson County because she wanted to make a difference in a child’s life.

Kalayjha is an 8-year-old who attends Bennett Elementary. She is very intelligent, sweet and fun. Kalayjha enjoys doing hair, nails and makeup. She wants to own a house when she gets older so she can take in all of the stray animals and find people to love them. Kalayjha has a kind heart.

The two were matched in November of 2016. They have spent the past year building their relationship and doing fun things. They enjoy going to the library, window shopping, going out to eat, and attending school events. They have even had a sleep-over together. Emily is helping Kalayjha be even more successful at school and improving her self-esteem.

With over 50 years of serving youth in Jackson County, this program keeps showing its ability to help children avoid risky behaviors, increase educational success, and help maintain emotional wellbeing. Many more children are waiting to be matched with mentors. The need is even greater for men to mentor youth in our community.

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