Hobart and William Smith Colleges are ready for another rewarding year of partnership with the Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) of Greater Rochester.
Running for more than a decade, the Big Brother Big Sister program at HWS has sent passionate students each year to work with the nation’s largest donor and volunteer supported mentoring program. Through the program, Big Brothers and Big Sisters meet weekly with their Littles, building at least a year-long connection. BBBS strives to foster strong one-on-one relationships between Bigs and Littles.
“Although it is a weekly commitment, with no less than a year in duration, our students make that commitment enthusiastically because they appreciate the mutually beneficial relationships it forms,” says Katie Flowers, director of the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning, which facilitates the link between HWS students and BBBS.
This semester, there will be a BBBS informational meeting at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 16 in Trinity 206. The session will be an overview of the process it takes to become a Big.
At HWS, Emily Worcester ’15 is the BBBS civic leader, coordinating campus and community events to which Bigs can bring Littles. Worcester found the connection to BBBS this past summer when she was fortunate enough to observe for the first time the interaction a Big and Little had with each other.
“BBBS is a great program because all parties involved benefit, clearly making a difference in each other’s lives,” she says.
Students are not the only ones who get involved with BBBS. The Colleges’ food provider, Sodexo, allows Littles to eat for free in SAGA. On certain days, students will often see children ages 6 to 18 eating with their Bigs in the dining hall. HWS athletics have also shared tickets with BBBS, asking Bigs to bring their Littles to sporting events.
Each year, mentoring students toward confidence is what builds such a strong relationship between HWS volunteers and the children in the program.