Our Stories

Making a Difference: Big Brothers Big Sisters

Guest Article Written by KOCH Public Affairs

Big Brothers Big Sisters, a Koch community partner, serves hundreds of children across the country by matching them with mentors in the community. Jeff Cooper, a senior auditor at Koch, joined BBBS as one of those mentors in 2017, and has seen firsthand the positive impact it has in the lives of children with a match.

“When I was growing up, I had a lot of different people that I saw in my community having some success, including my mom and dad,” he said. “But a lot of these kids are coming from a single-parent household, and they may not see that. They need someone to maybe help them along the way.”

Cooper found BBBS at a Koch Volunteer Fair in 2017 and was drawn to the organization because of the natural fit with his own talents. He had worked as a mentor at local middle schools and high schools in Wichita over the years and was looking for a new program to volunteer with as his own children were nearly grown.

“You never know the power or impact of your words,” said Cooper. “You don’t have to do anything extraordinary, but the kind gesture, the words of encouragement or wisdom, that can go a long way in someone’s life.”

Cooper encourages anyone with a few hours a month to dedicate to the program to sign up as a mentor or attend a session to learn more. With approximately 300 kids enrolled in the program in Wichita waiting to be matched with a big, the need for volunteers is high.

“It’s an easy thing to do, just being yourself and showing someone that you care. You can see the change – their grades may be a little bit better or their attitude’s a little bit better,” said Cooper. “The positive changes you get to see over time is the best part.”

To learn more about Big Brothers Big Sisters and to sign up to be a mentor, visit the BBBS website.