Rantin: Big brothers, big sisters

brantin@thestate .com (803) 771-8306January 30, 2014 

— Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Columbia honored its 2014 Big Brother and Big Sister of the Year during ceremonies Thursday.

Stacy Shull of Lexington and Michelle Lemoine of Blythewood were recognized during a special event at Columbia’s Nexsen Pruet law firm celebrating National Mentoring Month.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Columbia provides children facing adversity with professionally supported one-to-one relationships with mentors to positively affect their lives.

Shull and Lemoine were recognized for their service as mentors and commitment to being strong role models.

Shull has been paired with a Lexington County youngster, Eric, since 2011 (the organization does not reveal last names).

“Stacy has followed Eric and his family through moves and changes in schools, and throughout has remained a consistent and reliable support,” Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Columbia president and chief executive officer Heidi Johnson said. “Stacy is always there keeping up with Eric’s grades and helping him catch back up.”

Lemoine began volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters nearly four years ago, largely because she had a mentor growing up.

She was matched with Devyn of Columbia in summer 2010, and the two since have enjoyed cooking, going to the movies, skating, and just hanging out and talking.

“It has been important to Michelle to expose Devyn to new things but also to encourage her in the things that she loves, such as soccer,” Johnson said.

Big Brothers Big Sisters screens and pairs volunteer mentors with children, and Johnson said studies have shown that youngsters in the program typically improve their school performance, behavior, and self-esteem.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Columbia is an affiliate member of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, the nation’s largest donor and volunteer-supported mentoring network.

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