Desoto Students Paired With Really Big Brothers and Sisters

Organization recruits mentors from retirement communities

With thousands of North Texas kids waiting for mentors, Big Brothers Big Sisters is now recruiting from a previously untapped resource: retirement communities.

The residents have plenty of time and knowledge to share. Once a month, fifth graders from DeSoto get to skip the school cafeteria and head to Dallas to meet some special lunch dates at Grace Presbyterian Village, a retirement community in Oak Cliff.

The students meet with residents or staff at Grace, have lunch and play games. They learn lessons about life from people who've lived a lot of it -- one big sister is 100 years old.

"The kids are surprised when they realize the ages of some of these residents," said Janet Bracken of Big Brothers Big Sisters. "They don't know what to expect from somebody that age, but they have fun. They just talk, they laugh."

Student Jordan Berry spends the lunches with Bob Barton, a World War II vet.  He and his wife, Rey, said they enjoy spending time with kids again.

The benefits go both ways, many of the children are from single-parent homes and could use a helping hand.

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