In late March, a group of peers and friends gathered downtown to have a bite, share some laughs, and talk about making a difference in the lives of Pittsburg’s youth.
It was an informal meeting. Just a quick after-work thing. But for Monica Holmes, director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Crawford County, it was a dream fulfilled and a promise of things to come.
“I remember when I first heard about the director position for Big Brothers Big Sisters,” she said. “I thought that would be a really cool job. When it became available, it was a no-brainer for me.”
Working with and caring for kids is at her core. She’s a mother, has a degree in elementary education, and for years owned The Cheer Pitt with her husband, Quentin. This role with BBBS is just the latest in her ongoing journey to help as many kids as she can.
“It’s really been an eye-opening experience,” she said. “You meet these kids and learn their stories, and many of them really do come from tough situations. At the same time, however, it’s so uplifting and inspiring to know we can be here to help and connect them with mentors and positive influences.”
“Pittsburg is such a strong community because we all work together to help each other and our city.”
One of those mentors is Elishia Seals, public information director for USD 250. She said her favorite part of being a Big is watching her Little grow and thrive.
“I became a Big because I believe every kid deserves to have someone that shows up for them,” she said.
Another is Brad Snow, who joined the program in 2021.
“My wife and I were blessed with three great kids,” he said. “Our mentoring skills helped them successfully get through those tough middle school and high school years. Now they are all living a successful life, so I felt a need to give back and share my skills with a child in need.
“Once I found out about BBBS I knew right away this was the organization I wanted to be a part of.”
Holmes said she appreciates how much time and heart the Bigs put into the program.
“Like everyone else, our Bigs have busy professional and personal lives,” she said, “but they show up for the kids. They give their all to our program and the kids, and it’s so heartwarming.”
Programs like BBBS are important to a community like PIttsburg, she said, because they help ensure a brighter future for many.
“Today’s kids are going to be our community leaders someday,” she said. “They need positive mentors and friends who not only bring them joy but also inspire them to become all they can be. Pittsburg is such a strong community because we all work together to help each other and our city.”