Meet the match: Diondre and Andrew

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.

[caption id="attachment_631" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Diondre and Andrew with Bianca Wilfork at the Pats vs. Bills game"][/caption]This is the highlight of a match that attended a home game this season.

Aspiring future professional football player Diondre, 10, attended his first-ever Pats game on New Year's Day thanks to his mentor of a year, Andrew. The pair are matched through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Massachusetts Bay.

Andrew describes Diondre as incredibly grateful, bright, and happy, despite having grown up in some challenging circumstances.

Initially, when Andrew and Diondre would meet they would talk about sports and video games.

"I wanted to know more and let him know that he could trust me, but knew that would take time," Andrew says.

Thanks to Andrew's consistency and support, Diondre started to open up about his home life and school happenings.

Andrew strives to be a responsible and encouraging role model to Diondre, and tries to discreetly link their activities to education or careers.

"For me, it is a success...if I can actively engage him and get him thinking about what college is," Andrew says.

The pair had a wonderful and memorable experience at the Pats game.

"We had an absolute blast and Diondre was on cloud nine, especially when he received the jersey [from Bianca]," says Andrew. "...He borrowed my phone to call his mom and tell her how awesome his day was going. This is a memory that will stick with Diondre and myself for the rest of our lives."

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.