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.