“During National Mentoring Month, we honor all those who continuously strive to provide young people with the resources and support they need and deserve, and we recommit to building a society in which all mentors and mentees can thrive in mutual learning relationships.” -President Barack Obama
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Mass/Metrowest began its journey with community programs. In our community programs children are referred to us by a parent or guardian and we match them with a caring adult who can meet with them once a week.
The pair choose activities to do together out in the community and form a strong relationship with the support of our awesome staff. It is amazing the impact that having a reliable, caring adult who consistently listens and supports, can have on a low-income child who is facing adversity. Community-based programs are a significant and positive part of BBBS CM/MW. Typically, they deliver the longest average match length, longer than any of our other programs, and much longer than the national average for Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. Some matches have reached upwards of 15 years and our longest match still stays in touch. They have been matched for over 50 years.
Mentees in our community programs are able to experience new things outside of school and their mentors help them to feel confident to try new opportunities without limitations or fear of failure. Positive development opportunities are essential to creating the meaningful impact we have on children’s lives and in their engagement and success in school and in life. We have the numbers to prove how successful our programs are. 75% of the children in our programs improve their confidence and academic grades, 65% feel more social acceptance and 40% of them reduce their risk attitudes. But the numbers don’t tell the whole story. Angela Martano, who manages our community programs, has first-hand experience with the value of mentoring.
“My Little Sister and I volunteered together at a local nonprofit where we made customizable care-packages for each kid who needed outfits and school supplies,” said Angela. “It was a wonderful and rewarding experience to share this with my Little Sister.” Angela Martano, Community Relations & Community Programs Coordinator. “It’s also nice knowing we can get manicures and pedicures together.”
Angela Martano comes to BBBS CM/MW from Boston, MA where she worked in corporate engagement. Prior to that, she was an AmeriCorps member in Denver, CO. working in many different youth serving nonprofit organizations. She has been a Big Sister for three years, sings in a gospel choir and enjoys cooking, baking, and entertaining others. After attending Assumption College in Worcester, MA, Angela found her confidence in becoming the person who she is today.
“My path continues to solidify my love for people and my service to them,” Angela said. “Having a Little Sister is a rewarding experience on both ends. It’s also a good feeling to know you have someone during the good and bad times.” Angela is excited to bring all of these experiences to her work managing our community programs.
Community programs provide an opportunity for youth and their Big Brothers or Big Sisters to develop strong, life-changing relationships. BBBS CM/MW is proud to be creating these connections and improving our communities and neighborhoods throughout Central Massachusetts and Metrowest Boston.
For more information on how to become a volunteer mentor with BBBS CM/MW, check out: http://bbbscm.org/faqs.