Volunteer Corner: Mark Christie – Big Brothers Big Sisters | SierraSun.com

Volunteer Corner: Mark Christie – Big Brothers Big Sisters

Amy Edgett/Sierra SunMark Christie learns and gives as a Big Brother in the Nevada County chapter of Big Brothers Big Sisters, a nationwide mentoring program.

Residence: Truckee Organization:

What is the programs mission?To mentor the youth of our future.How do you achieve this?The biggest thing we do is contribute time. Its amazing how many little things my little brother picks up from me. We go biking, fishing, hiking, mountain biking, bowling, kayaking in the lake and weve even fished from our kayaks. He loves to fish. His dad passed away four years ago. Now I am the fisherman in his life. From what I gather, those are some of the best times he had with his dad. Its cool to be in that role. To bring back good memories.When did you begin with the Big Brothers and Sisters program?I considered it in 1999, when I was 19 years old and in college. I just got into it last year.What made you make the jump?I came across the number. It was that easy. The closest program was an hour away in college.Who needs to be mentored?For the most part those in financial need, those who dont have big brothers or sisters. It surprised me, the fact that my wife and I have so many plans for what we will do for our kids when we have them, that so many people dont have the opportunity to offer their children sports or activities.Tell me about your family growing up.I am the youngest of four. This is a major influence why I wanted to get into it. My brother who is closest in age [two years] was always there for me. I would like to be there for someone.Where did you grow up?In Santa Cruz, until college, then I attended Cal Poly in San Lius Obispo.What brought you to the mountains?My wife and I opened a store, Gloss, about two years ago. Its a clothing boutique. I was a project manager in construction, and changed my direction from engineering to pre-dental.Some change.I had my teeth knocked out as a kid and my father is a dentist. He is involved in missionary dentistry, a volunteers in remote areas. My mother is a school nurse from elementary to high school grades. Both parents have such an impact and influence on childrens experiences.Volunteerism and caring for children runs in the family?Its great to offer a social outlet for my Little Brother. The more stimulus you can give young minds the better, they soak it up quickly. I find I really need to self reflect, my Little Brother mimics what I do. I have to make sure the message I put out is the right one, they are [children] taking it all in.How long have you been with your Little Brother?Just since the beginning of 2008, about a year.What does the mentor get out of donating time?Thats a good question. My wife and I hope to have kids one day. But right now we have a lot on our plates. This provides an outlet to be a parent and a kids at the same time. y wife often joins us. Its the best of both worlds. I find myself parenting more than I thought I would. Some intervention is necessary.Such as?In behavior. Whats appropriate and whats not. I do it as gently as possible, more passive suggestion and guidance. Parents might sometimes become de-sensitized.What would you like our readers to know about the program?I have a feeling some people might be intimidated. They really should get involved. The need is huge, there is a lack of males.What is the time commitment?One to two hours a week. I find when I am setting up our time together, Im just as excited as he is, I get to get out and play. I remember being his age, always questioning, always excited about the world. Im sure I got that from my mom. The Suns Amy Edgett interview Mark Christie for the weeks Volunteer Corner. For future suggestions, send an e-mail to aedgett@sierrasun.com, subject, volunteer.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Nevada County (BBBSNC) has partnered with Tahoe Womens Services and is looking for men and women who want to mentor these students. Mentors commit about an hour a week with their little brother or sister an experience often as rewarding for the mentor as the youth. Mentors have to pass a simple background check and must be willing to make a difference in a childs life. For more information, or if you are interested, please contact Peggy Martin at 587-7717 or e-mail at peggy@bigsofnc.org. For more information, please see http://www.bigsofnc.org.

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