Meet the match: Alexyss and Elizabeth

For the ninth consecutive year, New England’s World Champion Nose Tackle Vince Wilfork and The Safety Insurance 98.5 The Sports Hub New England Patriots Radio Network have teamed up with Mass Mentoring Partnership, to ensure that more young people are connected to caring adult mentors who will listen to them, stand by them and guide them. As a part of this initiative, Wilfork and 98.5 have extended invitations to mentor/mentee matches in the MMP network to attend a home game, and MMP chooses a match for each game based on the most compelling stories submitted. On game day, chosen matches are met by Bianca Wilfork and 98.5 The Sports Hub.

Alexyss Valez, 14, got to experience the thrills of a Patriots game on Oct. 21 with her mentor Elizabeth Coy. They have been matched for more than two years through Big Friends Little Friends/Family Service Inc. of Lawrence.

Elizabeth says that Alexyss was dealing with numerous tough issues when they were initially matched. Over the course of their relationship though, Alexyss has truly blossomed.

"Her life is headed in a much more positive direction," Elizabeth says. "She has greatly improved in school...and she's generally made better choices to make her life better."

From Elizabeth's perspective, she has relished Alexyss' ability to better control her emotions and communicate more clearly.

"To know that I have had even the smallest positive impact on this young woman who has had more struggles in her young life than many do in a lifetime makes me feel overwhelmed with gratitude that I am able to help," Elizabeth says.

The two enjoy doing "anything where we can talk," Elizabeth says. That includes grabbing a bite to eat, watching sports, and shopping, as well as sharing their love for music and photography.

Elizabeth hopes, "My goal is that we stay friends forever. I have a friend for life and it makes my heart fuller helping and being a mentor for Alexyss."

Big Friends Little Friends is a youth mentoring program that matches caring adult mentors with young people who could benefit from a relationship with a positive adult role model.  The goal of the program is to develop the positive potential of young people by providing them with support, guidance and friendship.  Big Friends Little Friends serves 15 towns in the Merrimack Valley. For more information: http://www.familyserviceinc.com/WhatWeDo/BFLFOverview.html.