By ROSA MERCADO
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
CANFIELD -- Although many teenagers might dread spending time with their little brothers or sisters, 15-year-old Jacki Adams looks forward to it.
Adams and her 10 teammates from the Jackson-Milton High School girls basketball team each gained a new little sister Monday during the kickoff of the Big Brothers Big Sisters program in the Jackson-Milton district.
"If it helps them, I think it's really cool that we can do something, especially since we really don't do anything like this out here," said Adams.
Ten-year-old Miranda Heflin didn't let a broken arm prevent her from meeting Adams, her "big sister." "I'd never been in this program, and I didn't know what it was about," Heflin said. "I thought it would be fun."
The 11 high-schoolers were each paired with a "little sister" from Jackson-Milton Elementary.
Missy Adams, school suspension aide for Jackson-Milton Local Schools, and Jeff Eisenbraun, the JMHS girls basketball coach, contacted Big Brothers Big Sisters about doing something with the team.
"We thought it was important for the girls to be involved in something, and there's a need for it in our community," Mrs. Adams said. "It was perfect for our kids because we were ready to do something."
Brian Higgins, caseworker supervisor for BBBS, said the BBBS high school program focuses on sophomores, juniors and seniors from a high school and younger children from the same school district.
"It's kind of a new direction for Big Brothers Big Sisters," said Higgins. "It's a pool of volunteers all at once."
The Big Brothers Big Sisters office in Girard serves Mahoning and Trumbull counties. It has high school programs in the Sebring and West Branch school districts and at Ursuline High School with Immaculate Conception school in Youngstown.
The Jackson-Milton event was hosted in the home of Dan and Barb Withers of Canfield, whose swimming pool provided relief from the heat.
Fifteen-year-old Kristen Etherly, who has two younger siblings at home, still looks forward to spending time with her new "little sister," 8-year-old Catlyn Metheny.
"Basically we just try to work with little kids," Etherly said. "I want to maybe teach her how to play basketball."