Following this fall’s recruiting and information session, Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Greater Rochester has four new volunteer mentors from Hobart and William Smith who have been paired with children from the Geneva community, bringing the total number of HWS students in the program to 17.
“Being matched is a lengthy process as it is important to find the right fit, so we were are very pleased to have four new participants in the program,” says Susannah Berry ’16, the Big Brothers, Big Sisters Civic Leader at HWS, who expects more volunteers this spring.
Since 1996, the Colleges have partnered with the Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Greater Rochester, which coordinates matches between adult volunteers (“bigs”) from the Colleges with children (“littles”), ages 6 through 18.
At HWS, students commit to the program for at least one year of mentoring, though the relationships they develop with their “littles” tend to grow in scope, extending to graduation and sometimes beyond, Berry says.
“I got matched my junior fall, so it has been over a year now, and I have greatly enjoyed seeing my relationship with my ‘little’ continue to grow and develop,” Berry says.
During the fall, the pairs attended group events to engage and bond. They also met for monthly activities such as pumpkin carving, the HWS Day of Service, a Thanksgiving lunch, and a holiday gift drive organized by the Hobart lacrosse team.
Through events like this, HWS students spend time consistently with local children – “which results in a very special relationship and bond,” says Berry. “It is rewarding to see how your relationship grows.”
For the spring, students involved in the program are planning to take their “littles” bowling and to Heron and Statesmen sporting events, and are also organizing a game night. “I am looking forward to spending time with my ‘little’ before I graduate and plan to take her on some cool adventures as are the other seniors involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters.”