Meet the match: Christian and Noam

For the eighth 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.

This is a highlight of the match that attended a home game this season.

Christian Vaczy, age 15, and his mentor, Noam Ron, have been matched for more than three years through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Massachusetts Bay. They attended the Pats versus Jets game in October, thanks to the generosity of Vince Wilfork, his wife Bianca, and The Safety Insurance 98.5 The Sports Hub New England Patriots Radio Network as Wilfork’s “Match of the Game” coordinated through Mass Mentoring Partnership.

[caption id="attachment_468" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Noam and Christian, with Bianca Wilfork, before the Pats/Jets game on Oct. 9"][/caption]Noam has been a source of stability for Christian, and says that despite Christian navigating the transition from childhood to adulthood through some shaky times, "Chris is mature beyond his years" and it helps him to know that his "Big Brother" will always be around.

The pair often talk about his future, and his goal of being the first in his family to attend college.

Says Noam, "I think having a mentor has shown Chris a way of life that he is not always exposed to at home or at school."

They're sure to make plenty of time for fun activities, and particularly enjoy sports, discussing football and the latest games. But as Christian gets older, Noam says their time together is increasingly about enjoying each other's company.

"Christian is infinitely curious, and we often spend hours talking about traveling, politics, or his goal of joining the military," Noam says.

The pair was particularly excited about seeing a Pats game since neither one of them had been to one. And fittingly, this year is Christian's first of playing football as a high-school student.

Noam has high hopes for the pair's future: "As a mentor, I'm excited to help Christian see his goals through."

As one of the largest adult-to-child mentoring organizations in the nation, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Massachusetts Bay currently serves over 1,200 youth in one-to-one relationships, with a service area encompassing 155 cities and towns throughout the Massachusetts Bay area. For more information: www.bbbsmb.org.