Big Brothers Big Sisters of Finney and Kearny Counties is looking for contributions on Dec. 3, during the Western Kansas Community Foundation's annual Match Day, to help with youth receiving mentors.

BBBS serves at risk youth ages five to 17, who are primarily from single parent, female-headed housholds. The organization works with parents/guardians, and the youth to help them see and develop potential in themselves.

Of the youth served through the organization:

-85 percent live at of below the poverty level. Of those in Kansas, one in four will not receive their high school diploma. Over 20 percent of the youth the group serves have a combined total household income of less than $15K annuallly.

-Over 85 percent come from single parent homes.

-Over 60 percent come frm homes with drug and or alcohol abuse issues.

-Over 40 percent have either witnessed or experienced domestic violence.

-Nearly one-third have or have had at least one incarcerated parent.

-Over 20 percent receive services from the Department of Children and Families.

Youth with adult mentors increase performance in school and have higher self-esteem, while decreasing risky behavior. Harris Interactive conducted a study with former "littles" who are now adults. The results show:

-46 percent report a household income over $75K.

-78 percent vote in elections.

-90 percent said their mentor made them feeel better about themselves.

-76 percent learned right from wrong from their mentor.

-Over half said their mentor kept them from dropping out of high school.

The contributions help create new matches for youth on the waiting list, and support existing matches by covering costs:

Background checks on prospective Big Brothers and Big Sisters, personal safety training for youth, the screening process of new volunteers including training, case supervision and evaluation of existing matches.

For more information, contact BBBS executive director Tammy Wilson at (620) 640-8614.