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Big Brothers Big Sisters Military Mentor Featured in New Civic Enterprises Report on Leadership and Our Armed Forces

PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Sonia Meneses, a Big Brothers Big Sisters Military Mentor, is featured in All Volunteer Force (, a new Civic Enterprises study that reveals that men and women serving in the United States Armed Forces represent a new generation of leaders. The report, released at a Veteran's Day celebration featuring Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, discusses how service organizations, such as Big Brothers Big Sisters, as well as individual American citizens are key to tapping into this amazing leadership potential.

Meneses, a 12-year Army veteran, suffered significant hearing loss -- total loss in one ear and 80 percent loss in the other -- from repeated exposure to weapons fire during two combat tours to Iraq. She is deaf in one ear and has 80 percent hearing loss in the other. Rather than feel sorry for herself, Sonia, mother to a five-year-old son, has been a Big Sister with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Clarksville, Tennessee. She received a fellowship from The Mission Continues, which provides veterans with financial stipends to offset the costs of volunteering full-time. Sonia hopes to return to school to become a registered nurse.

"'The Mission Continues' gave me the opportunity to believe in myself again and helped me realize that just because I am injured, and have my own disabilities that I can still be a great help to someone. I volunteer at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Clarksville. I also volunteer to do community activities, which help children in our community. Big Brothers Big Sisters works hard to make things happen in our community and let our children know that we care, and that we are here for them. I love to see them smile and accomplish something that they never thought they would be able to. Seeing the difference that one person can make to a child's life has given me the greatest motivation and the strength to keep going, just knowing that someone out there is counting on me, it means the world to me." -- Sonia Meneses, Big Sister

All Volunteer Force details how our troops' leadership future will depend largely on how our nation listens to, learns from and cares for them and their families.

"All of us in leadership positions -- from across the interagency -- must do a better job ensuring those pathways exist and remain open. We must help veterans find meaningful service and employment opportunities when they return home. We must help their families deal with the myriad challenges of re-integration. For those acting as caregivers to our wounded, we must ensure they have at their disposal all the tools and the training and emotional support to best support their loved one. And for the surviving family members of our fallen, we can never let them forget that we will never forget their loss." -- Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen, from All Volunteer Force Foreword

According to the report, communities across the nation should support our returning troops and their families, that our entire nation will be stronger for it.

About Big Brothers Big Sisters

Big Brothers Big Sisters helps vulnerable children beat the odds. The organization depends on donations to help recruit volunteers and reach more children. Funding is used to conduct background checks on volunteers to ensure child safety; and provide ongoing support for children, families and volunteers to build and sustain long-lasting relationships. Big Brothers Big Sisters is proven to improve children's odds for succeeding in school, behaving nonviolently, avoiding drugs and alcohol, and breaking negative cycles. Headquartered in Philadelphia and with nearly 400 agencies across the country, Big Brothers Big Sisters serves more than a quarter million children. Learn how you can change how children grow up in America by going to

SOURCE Big Brothers Big Sisters

SOURCE Big Brothers Big Sisters
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