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An Unbreakable Bond

Heather Ulliman and 11-year-old Erin Carter are inseparable. The pair spends up to 20 hours a month together, enjoying everything from arcade games to the movie theater.

“Hanging out with him, I don't think about work. I don't think about bills or doing all those things. I just think about enjoying my time,” Ulliman said.

Ulliman and Carter are matched through Big Brothers Big Sisters — a local nonprofit that provides children facing adversity with one-on-one mentoring relationships.

“I like spending time with her because we go to basketball games and soccer games," Carter said. "She tells horrible jokes, but it still makes me laugh!”

Two years ago, Ulliman was searching for a way to impact children in need and VOLY.org, powered by VolunteerNow, connected her with the perfect opportunity.

“VOLY.org is great because you can pick and choose where you want to volunteer, and you don’t have to constantly search for opportunities," Ulliman said. "You’re able to go to one site and find a variety of volunteer work."

Shortly after connecting in July 2016, Ulliman noticed Carter was struggling in school. She immediately set goals to help him improve his grades and get involved in extracurricular activities. Today, Carter is an honor roll student and heavily involved in drama club.

“I feel like I’ve really pushed him to be excited about school,” Ulliman said. “I think it’s rewarding in a sense that it makes you appreciate the smaller things. It's about giving time to mentor or help somebody in a way that’s going to impact them further down the road.”