(WETM) – Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Twin Tiers is calling on volunteers to help their mission of mentoring kids even as the pandemic strains relationships.

BBBS serves five counties in the Twin Tiers: Bradford County, Pa., Tioga County, Pa., Sullivan County, Pa., Tioga County, NY, and Broome County, NY. Their mission is to “pair children that are seeking additional role modeling or leadership—maybe from disadvantaged populations—with adults in their area for peer support, confidence building…” said Executive Director Lauren Heilweil.

But the pandemic has put a strain on the kids, she added. The limited contact from COVID-19 restrictions has left the kids wondering “how to feel and where to go.” This is especially true in the very rural Pennsylvania communities. “They’re just really losing a lot of those social and emotional skills that they’re building while in school or while out with their friends,” Heilweil said the program is trying to focus on how to get the children back on track with the support they need through the pandemic.

And the program is in need of mentors, too. January is National Mentoring month, so BBBS is thanking all past, present, and future mentors for their work in the kids’ lives. But Heilweil said there are “50, 60 kids waiting at any given time, sometimes over 100”, and this is especially true for boys. So the program is “desperately in need of male mentors” because so many young boys are waiting.

Anyone interested in becoming a mentor is encouraged to contact Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Twin Tiers by calling 570-265-3009, 1-866-344-BIGS or by visiting their website.