News-Sun photo by KATARA SIMMONS Marcus Sholtz, 11, checks out a front end loader Tuesday afternoon, while spending the afternoon with his Ôbig brother' Harold Roebuck III during Take Your Little To Work Day 2013.
published: Friday, January 25, 2013
Little visits Big on the job
By KATARA SIMMONS
LAKE PLACID - Harold Roebuck III is used to solving problems. He began working as a laborer for Highlands County Road and Bridge 22 years ago. Currently, he is a supervisor and manages 20 people at the Road and Bridge Unit 3 barn in Lake Placid.
Last year Roebuck attended Leadership Highlands, a program to help develop positive leadership in Highlands County. While attending the program, Roebuck met Kiko Vazquez, Highlands and Hardee counties community resource director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sun Coast, and learned of a local need for positive mentors.
At the beginning of the school year, Roebuck was matched with a 'little,' 11 year-old Marcus Sholtz, a fourth-grader at Lake Placid Elementary School. Sholtz lost both of his parents and lives with his grandmother.
What began as weekly visits at school, soon became fishing trips and other activities on the weekends. "Marcus has a need for tutoring," Roebuck said, and the two spend much of their time working on school work and talking about skills needed to succeed.
Sholtz joined Roebuck at work for a few hours Tuesday afternoon during Take Your Little To Work Day 2013. Sholtz and Roebuck worked on math homework before taking a tour around the Road and Bridge barn and a nearby dirt and shell stockpile.
'It doesn't take much of your time,' Roebuck said about being a Big Brother, while Sholtz's eyes lit up at the sight of a large stockpile of shell rock and some heavy equipment used to move dirt.
'I'll be with Marcus for the next 7 years,' Roebuck said, Sholtz looked surprised and asked, 'You will?' Roebuck explained that he would remain his Big Brother until he turns 18 years old and Marcus grinned from ear to ear.
Sholtz is especially excited about this upcoming weekend. "I have never seen snow," he said with a big smile on his face.
Big Brothers Big Sisters is hosting Winter Fest from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Sebring International Raceway. The fundraising event is presented by Drs. Vinod and Tarlika Thakkar Foundation. The event features a large pile of real snow, inflatables, a rock wall, aqua balls, video games, face painting and food vendors. Admission is $5 per person and includes free parking.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sun Coast helps create meaningful matches between adult volunteers ("bigs") and children ("littles"). Vazquez explained that there are two programs, school-based and community-based. School-based programs require "bigs" to spend one hour a week with "littles" at their school during lunch break. Community-based programs require four to six hours a month doing activities outside of school.
Highlands County has nearly 100 children on a waiting list who would like to participate in the program, but without enough volunteers, they are forced to wait.
To learn more or volunteer, visit www.bbbssun.org or call 402-9001.
Nice (by: Mike - 1/26/2013)
It's nice to read a positive story in the news. Refreshing that our society still has good qualitites. Well done Harold, and Katara for reporting it.
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