Meet the match: Haley and Nicole

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 the first home game this season.

[caption id="attachment_463" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Haley and Nicole, with Bianca Wilfork, before the Pats/Chargers game on Sept. 18"][/caption]Haley, age 10, and her mentor Nicole have been matched for almost three years through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampden County. They attended the Pats versus San Diego Chargers game in September, 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.

The pair bonded quickly after they started hanging out.

“Haley is the most thoughtful, caring and funny child I know,” says Nicole. “Every time I see her I spend the rest of my day sharing ‘Haley stories’ with anyone that will listen. I have learned what a great impact I can make in someone’s life and enjoy all the time we spend together.”

The two enjoy a wide range of activities when they spend time together: watching movies, ice skating, attending sporting events, and playing tennis - which Haley took up after Nicole took her to a tennis lesson.

Nicole looks forward to a lasting relationship with Haley: "I explain to her that even though we won't always be in the program, she will always be a part of my life."

For more than 40 years, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampden County has been the area’s leader in one-to-one mentoring of children. For more information: www.bigbrothers-sisters.org.