Learning about each other

Just a few months into their friendly relationship, Lynn Olberding and Allison Ashby are still learning about each other on a weekly basis.

That’s the point as the two are a match in Big Brothers Big Sisters in the school-based mentoring program.

Olberding is Ashby’s “Big Sister” and visits the 7-year-old first grader at Hoglan Elementary School each week during the school year.

“Allison has a very bubbly personality, and we kind of hit if off right away,” Olberding said.

Olberding spends 45 minutes each week with Ashby as the two play games, complete puzzles and talk over the noon hour. She works as vice president of the Marshalltown Area Chamber of Commerce and is a mother of a 1-year-old boy. Olberding said this school-based program fits into her busy schedule.

She was previously a mentor in the school-based program to a student at Lenihan Intermediate School for two years before taking some time off to have her child. She was encouraged to get back into mentoring by BBBS Director Lynne Carroll and again is happy she did.

“I think it’s a great program and it’s something small that has a big impact,” Olberding said.

Ashby said it makes her very happy when Olberding arrives each week at her school.

Big Brothers Big Sisters is always looking for mentors for either the school-based program or the community-based program where mentoring pairs meet at each other’s homes for activities during nights or weekends.

For more information on mentoring opportunities, call the BBBS office 641-753-6370. Olberding recommends that people look into the program. She believes she has received just as much as she has given to the program.

“I think Big Brothers Big Sisters is a really rewarding experience and it has an impact on a child’s life,” Olberding said.