Monsanto grant supports Big Brothers, Big Sisters

DeKALB — Misiker Mandefro wanted to mentor children and help them achieve their dreams. 

So he decided to volunteer his time with the Family Service Agency’s Big Brother Big Sisters program. Mandefro, an operations supervisor at Monsanto’s Waterman Seed Technology Center, was drawn to the prospect of being a good role model for children in need of one. 

“It’s just their mission,” Mandefro said of Big Brothers Big Sisters. “What they’re trying to do and helping the kids in the community.”

On July 1, Mandefro and several other Monsanto employees helped the Big Brothers Big Sisters program in another way. They presented a check worth $6,000 from the Monsanto Fund. The grant is part of Monsanto’s U.S. Site Grant program to support critical needs in communities where Monsanto employees work. 

“We each have families, and being supportive of the [Family Service Agency] really inspired us to give back to the community,” said Matt Peeples, Monsanto’s Waterman site manager. 

The gift will help the Big Brothers Big Sisters program reach out to five schools in the DeKalb and Sycamore area. Courtney Denison, director of Big Brothers Big Sisters, said they plan to serve West Elementary School and North Grove Elementary School in Sycamore. They also plan to service Jefferson Elementary School and Founders Elementary School in DeKalb, and a fifth school will be named later, Denison said.

Denison said it was great to receive support and understanding from the community. The $6,000 was the amount she had asked for from the Monsanto Fund, and she was thrilled when she received a call telling her the grant had been approved.

“It’s truly amazing when you can get a phone call explaining how important the program is,” Denison said. 

Big Brothers Big Sisters always needs volunteers, she said. The program provides children with one-on-one relationships to help them feel better about themselves.

To volunteer 

To help or contact Big Brothers Big Sisters, visit their Facebook at http://shawurl.com/nyb or call the Family Service Agency at 815-758-8616.

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