Give a Little Gift

Posted on September 2, 2010


Friend, Mentor, Ally: these are a few of the words we use to describe the relationship a Big Brother or Sister has with his or her Little Brother or Sister. As an employee of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Massachusetts Bay (BBBSMB) in Boston, I believe that our program is unequaled in promoting the healthy development of children by establishing one-to-one friendships with caring responsible adults, supported by trained, professional staff.

A typical story involves John and Earnest, who were matched 10 years ago. Earnest was living with his grandmother, who was raising him and two of his seven siblings. Earnest was acting out in elementary school and had a few behavioral problems. His grandmother wanted to make sure he had a male role model.

John checked in with Earnest’s teacher to see how he was doing. Earnest didn’t want John to hear what his teacher had to say, so he stormed out of the room and marched home. John recalled how Earnest later asked him, “Are you against me?” John responded, “I’m against you not doing well in school. I want you to do something with your life.” Looking back he can laugh at it now, knowing that Earnest is on the honor roll which is remarkable as his other siblings struggle in school.

A study of Littles who are now adults conducted in 2009 for Big Brothers Big Sisters by Harris Interactive illustrates the long-term impact of having a Big:

• 62% perceive themselves to have achieved a higher level of success than their peers who did not have a Big
• 81% say their Big changed their perspective on what they thought possible in life
• 77% set higher goals than they would have on their own
• A significant majority say they learned right from wrong, the importance of helping others and other things they would not have otherwise learned
• 77% say they did better in school because of their Big and 52% agree that their Big kept them from dropping out of high school
• A significant majority say their relationship with their Big helped a lot in making better choices through their childhood and throughout adult life.

BBBSMB reaches out to the children most in need, specifically those who live in poverty and single-parent households. There are over 30,000 at-risk children between the ages of 7 and 14 in their service area of 155 eastern Massachusetts communities, including Lynn. BBBSMB supports these matches for boys and girls until they are 18 years-old or graduate from high school.

I see the work we do day in and day out, so I am not hesitant to tell you that any money you donate to BBBSMB will be used wisely for investing in the community and making it a better place for all. On September 25th, I will be riding in the Rodman Ride for Kids with 1,500 other riders to raise more than $3 million for several children’s charities. I am riding 25 miles for BBBSMB. I am asking every reader of this blog to give $25, as I have already done. Just go to my personal website and make a donation for the children in cities just like Lynn in our service area who desperately need the right kind of role model.

Our Big Brothers and Sisters are all volunteers. All monies raised will be used for volunteer recruitment, making matches between children without adult role models and suitable volunteers, and supporting those matches.