The goal is just right there but about $20,000 more is needed to help bring Big Brothers Big Sisters back to Odessa.

A committee of community leaders has worked more than a year to bring the program back to Odessa with hopes of starting as soon as all the funding, more than $100,000, is raised.

The program matches adults with youngsters age 5 through 15 to act as mentors to the children. If they are in the program, however, they can stay until they graduate from high school. Kay Crites, executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Midland, said the effort has a $31,200 pledge for the first year from the Education Foundation of Odessa and that Connection Christian Church is offering space in its new building at 4241 Tanglewood Lane.

This monumental effort is so close to the finish line and we thank the committee that has given time and funding to make this important charitable work happen. But now is the time to dig deep and help them get that extra $20,000.

Can’t do that? Consider volunteering some time.

“We’ve come a long way, but we need it by July 15 so that we can be up and running by the fall semester with the school district,” Crites said.

She added that this will give the agency time to line up volunteers and conduct background checks so when the schools are ready, Big Brothers Big Sisters will be ready.

This is such an opportunity for the youth of Odessa who need a Big Brother Big Sister to look up to. This national organization offers fellowship and friendship as well as mentoring to youth who may not have enough time in their lives that is spent with adults.

This Big Brothers Big Sisters will be set in the schools. Crites said it will be based at one of the elementary schools to start with.

“Then we’ll expand as quickly as we can. We’re going to start small and let it grow. We will work with ECISD to identify which school would be the best,” Crites said.

Want to help?

Call Crites at the Big Brothers Big Sisters office, (432) 687-0195, or online through the website, and go to the donate page, then “in honor of,” and put Odessa in the comment tab. That will take donors to PayPal and they can check out. Donations may also be mailed to the Midland office, 714 W. Louisiana, Midland, TX 79701. Donors should write Odessa in the memo line if they want their contribution to go there.

Crites said her agency receives calls every month from parents in Odessa who want to enroll their child in the program.

Let’s all do what we can to make this happen in time for the next school year. Odessa’s children are counting on it.