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Big Brothers Big Sisters success story

CINCINNATI (Perry Schaible) -- January is National Mentoring Month Here in the Tri-State there are plenty of ways to give back. 

The Big Brothers/Big Sisters mentorship program here locally has been very successful, so much so, it may be one of the program's biggest downfalls. Right now, there are nearly 400 young boys and girls waiting for a mentor in the Queen City.

Anthony howard had one. He and his brother, Brandon, were paired with David Spaccarelli nearly a decade ago. Today, that relationship is still going strong.             

"We're actually 12 years in. So, they were coming up to my waist and now they're 6 feet, 6-2, and it's been great."

The relationship between Spaccarelli and Howard is one of the organization's biggest success stories. Howard's mother, a single parent, signed her boys up for the program hoping to find a positive male role model for her sons. Enter Spaccarelli, just out of college at the time.

He spent time with the boys, taking them places and playing sports with them. He eventually even helped them choose the right college. "When I got older the relationship continued to grow and that's what I appreciate about David. He really never gave up on my brother and me."
Now 23, Anthony has decided it's his turn to give back. About a month ago he signed up to be a big brother. He has been paired with Brien Champion. "It's like I have more family."

Every Saturday, the guys try to get together to hang out. They play ball, go to the arcade or grab a bite to eat. "It's better than throwing a football by yourself, I know that."

Volunteers range in age from 18 to 70. They must make a one-year commitment and meet with their "little" at least once every two weeks. Organizers realize it sounds like a big commitment, but mentors say it's well worth it, both for them and the kids. "You become really proud of them, just like a mother or a father. It's neat to watch them  blossom." 

We talked to David via Skype. He is currently working in Austin, Texas. Anyone over 18 can be a Big Brother or Big Sister.

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