By Dan Fiorucci
5:14 PM AKDT, June 23, 2012
In Anchorage and Wasilla, the "Big Brothers & Big Sisters" program is short of volunteers.
The group, started in our area by State Representative Les Gara (D-Anchorage), needs more adults to mentor Foster Youth age -- ages 16-through -21.
Gara, who himself is the product of the Foster Care System back in New York City, says it's a tragic fact that 40% of young people who grow-up in Foster Care either end-up homeless or couch-surfing.
That's where "Big Brothers" and "Big Sisters" comes in. It helps young people navigate the transition out of Foster Care and into their adult lives.
Mentor Johanna Grasso, of East Anchorage, volunteered last year and loves the program. She's been working with a 21-year-old Downtown Anchorage Foster Youth named Cody Behr. Behr comes from Shishmareff.
"I love being able to work with Cody and grow with Cody," Grasso says. I mean, we have fun together. We talk about things and we just, I don't know, build a friendship."
For his part, Cody says he needs some guidance, and he needs someone to encourage him when he feels lazy at his studies. "I felt like I needed some direction," he says. "I was at a difficult chapter in my life. I just needed someone in my life that was a perfect mixture of professional and personal influence.
If you'd like to volunteer to be a "Big Brother" or Big Sister in Anchorage or Wasilla, just call 433-4600.
The organization will train you, and will team you up with a Foster Child who values your friendship and counsel.
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