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Did you know Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Iowa’s (BBBSCI) offers the opportunity for mentors to volunteer as Big Duos in our Community-Based Mentoring Program? Big Duos consist of two people - two friends, co-workers, spouses or siblings- who are matched with one child who shares common interests.


Big Duo Shayna and Spencer Bell have been matched with their Little Brother, Ayden, since September 2015. They were attracted to the Big Duo option because of the unique way it enriches the mentoring relationship and experience for the child.

“We feel being in a Big Duo gives Ayden the opportunity to come to both of us with anything and to see the different ways we might approach situations or answer questions. It not only provides two different perspectives, but we feel we each bring something unique to the match, whether that’s different skills, attitudes or life experiences,” Shayna explained.

Before becoming a Big Duo, Shayna and Spencer both experienced the lasting impact of mentoring in different ways. Shayna sees firsthand the positive effects of mentoring through her role at BBBSCI as the Volunteer Enrollment Coordinator and previously as a case manager and marketing intern. Spencer was a Little growing up and it gave him the desire to give back as an adult by becoming a Big. Shayna and Spencer have both always enjoyed being around kids and saw the opportunity to be a Big Duo as a fun and rewarding experience to share together.

When their match began, Ayden was 10 years old. As their match has progressed, Shayna and Spencer have seen positive changes in Ayden, who is now 12 years old.

“I think the biggest change we’ve seen is his willingness to be more involved in school, and his attitude and confidence in his ability to make new friends,” Shayna said.

As with all Community-Based Mentoring matches, Shayna and Spencer meet with Ayden for a minimum of four hours each month. Shayna, Spencer and Ayden have taken advantage of match activity opportunities, such as archery and musical tour through Mexico activities hosted by the SPARK program. They also like to bowl, try new restaurants, play games, geo-cache, swim, walk and cook together.

"Ayden’s favorite activities have been geo-caching and playing Pokémon Go at the John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park,” said Spencer.

A special moment for this Big Duo match was when Ayden attended Shayna and Spencer’s wedding last September! Shayna and Spencer highly encourage others to get involved and become Bigs.

“Jump in and just go for it! You’ll be surprised at how fun and rewarding it is for not only the Little, but also for yourself. We feel we’ve learned just as much from Ayden as he’s learned from us,” Spencer said.

Learn how you can empower youth in our community by becoming a Big! Contact Shayna Bell, Volunteer Enrollment Coordinator, at or 515-288-9025 x227, today to get started.

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