80+ Shawnee Co. kids are on the BBBS waiting list: how you can help

Published: Apr. 10, 2021 at 2:07 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - More than 80 kids in Shawnee County are currently on the waiting list to be matched with a mentor through the Big Brothers Big Sisters program.

BBBS is currently looking for Bigs and calling to the community for donations to support existing matches through “For Kids Sake.”

“For Kids Sake” is traditionally an in-person bowling event; however, due to the ongoing pandemic, the mentor recruitment and fundraiser has gone virtual this year.

If you are interested in becoming a Big, you can find more information and a link to sign up here.

To donate to support existing matches, head to 13 Sports Director Marleah Campbell’s “For Kids Sake” page, here.

Denzel Goolsby’s Story

Former Kansas State defensive back Denzel Goolsby has firsthand knowledge of the value of being a Big.

Goolsby worked hard to reach his full potential on the field. Off of it, he made it his mission to help others reach theirs.

“I knew being in athletics there was always this pouring of support into who I was as a person, as a player,” Goolsby, co-chair of Shawnee County’s “For Kids Sake” effort, said. “I thought, that’s great - but what can I do?”

That started his journey with BBBS.

“My focus was, ‘Oh I want to go out and change the world.’ And it’s like, well, let me try to go out and change one kid’s day. Let me try to focus my time and my energy here,” Goolsby said. “The great thing about Big Brothers Big Sisters is providing that platform.”

Denzel and Shannon have grown together over the past five years.

“We’d go to the lake together. I saw him catch his first fish. We’d do anything outdoors-related, anything active. We’d go play sports together, take him to K-State’s facilities and show him around,” Gooslby said. “He’s really curious. I love the curiosity in him and how he’s very interested in learning a lot of different things. So that’s definitely one of the ways that he’s grown, is his appetite for learning.”

Dozens of kids just like Shannon are on the waiting list in Shawnee County, hoping for the day they’ll meet their Big.

“Take the leap,” Goolsby said. “You really never know what you’re capable of or what your experience will be like until you take that leap of faith. There’s going to be one kid out there that just adores looking up to you, and you’re going to have such a great relationship too.”

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