Big Brothers Big Sisters Mentoring Program

Jeff Chin, CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Mass/Metrowest (BBBS) spoke with us at a recent meeting.  BBBS provides one-to-one mentoring relationships with at-risk youth from ages 6-13.  Jeff showed a brief video about a Big Brother (Big) and his Little Brother (Little) interacting and their individual thoughts on the mentoring program.  Jeff gave us background info on the agency that serves 41 communities and cited statistics on the success of the program.  When matched with a mentor, children are 89% less likely to engage in risky behavior and 95% report improvement in academic success.  BBBS currently serves over 1,000 Littles and has only 14 full time staff members, but with many volunteer mentors.  While the program currently exists as a ‘community based’ program in Sturbridge and other communities in South County, the agency is proposing expansion of the program in a ‘site based’ environment in South County.  A ‘community based’ program is where the Big and Little meet at a library or restaurant.  The ‘site based’ program is when Bigs meet with their Littles at a school or a business/company.  It is being proposed that students from Nichols College will mentor the most at-risk youngsters at a ‘site based’ program possibly meeting their “Littles” at the YMCA in Southbridge.  Statistics from the State of MA confirm the necessity for a mentoring program in South County but funds are needed to provide expansion and continuity of the program.  Many questions followed Jeff’s presentation with great interest expressed by the membership.  For more information on BBBS, visit www.bbbscm.org.

Jeff Chin - BBBS on 2-23-2015 (2)

Jeff Chin Larry 2-23-2015

 

 

Rotary at its Best

Yet another snowstorm last Monday caused our Rotary club meeting to be cancelled again.   However, Rotarians Rob & Jennifer Benzel of the Lancaster-Depew Rotary Club (D-7090) near Buffalo NY had arranged to attend our club meeting.  They did that via our Sturbridge RC website!  (Please note, the Internet works!)

Happily, we knew of their impending visit and stayed in touch as the storm developed.  They arrived Sunday and booked into the Publick House Inn just ahead of the worst of the storm.

Rob is the current club president and completely deaf as a result of a series of operations, so Jen types what is being said on a small keyboard, which then displays on a small screen that Rob can view.  Jen does an amazing job keeping Rob in the conversation; a joy to behold.

So Klaus & Glenys invited them to their house for dinner.  The afternoon and evening hours were totally delightful, as we compared club notes and shared photos.   Of special interest were the pictures of their home that had just received 84” of snow in 72 hours.  They had to do battle to even get out of the house!

For a club even smaller than our Sturbridge club, they do a terrific job raising funds via a massive annual car show, and serving their community.    We exchanged banners, to help commemorate their trip.

This visit so vividly brought to mind that at its heart, it is the personal relationships that bring Rotary to life.

Lancaster-Depew RC Banner