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Surge in volunteers at Big Brothers Big Sisters

Posted at 6:20 PM, Dec 03, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-03 20:20:10-05
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Almost five years ago, Tony Gale became a Big Brother to a 7-year-old boy also named Tony. 
"It was a match right off the bat," said Gale. "Worked out real well." 
Gale says he joined Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tucson because he wanted to give back but after seeing little Tony every week for the last five years, he says it's become more than that. 
"He's part of my life," said Gale. 
But it's hard for the non-profit to find more men like Gale. 
"We have a major issue with a lack of men volunteering," said Katie Kernodle, the volunteer recruitment coordinator for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tucson. "We have a lot of boys in need and just not enough male volunteers that step up to the plate."
The non-profit is about to wrap up its "100 men in 100 days" campaign aimed at closing that gap. Before the campaign started, the organization had nearly 200 boys on its waiting list. 
"We've actively been taking people off the wait list and now that we've had people enroll in the process for the last 100 days, we can really it get it going," said Kernodle. "It's definitely not a fast process, we really take our time and we're thorough. We do quite a few background checks and we try to make sure that we really understand the person, their motivations and what they like so we can match them with a little that's going to work for them."
Because of this recent surge in volunteers, the organization now needs more resources to help create the Big/Little matches. The non-profit wanted to raise $10,000 on Giving Tuesday to help fund the recent surge in volunteers. 
Kernodle says they raised $7,600 and an anonymous donor in the community was willing to match that amount. But she says they are always in need of more donations to keep the work going. 
"It's incredible what just having one adult in a child's life who just wants to hang out with them can do for their self esteem," she said. 
Tony Gale says he has seen a real change in little Tony, who went from a quiet, timid boy to being much more social and outgoing. 
"You can really see the results of what you do working with your little," he said. 
To learn more about Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tucson and for information on how to donate or become a volunteer, click here.