Meet the match: Mia and Kendra

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 a match that attended a home game this season.

[caption id="attachment_547" align="alignleft" width="250" caption="Mia and Kendra meet Bianca Wilfork at the Pats-Dolphins game on Dec. 24."][/caption]Mia, 8, attended her first-ever Pats game on Dec. 24 with her mentor Kendra. The pair, matched for a year through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater New Bedford, have formed a deep relationship in a short amount of time. They've bonded over experiencing similar losses, and Kendra has encouraged Mia to express her feelings.

"I try to make it as comfortable for her (to express these feelings)," Kendra says. "I am able to confirm her feelings and show she is not alone."

Kendra says it makes her feel good to know how much Mia trusts her, as well as how much Mia wants to hang out with her.

"Every time I pick her up or drop her off, I get about 10 hugs from Mia, which is awesome," Kendra says.

When they meet, they enjoy going to arcades, seeing movies, or collecting shells at the beach.

Kendra says before she became a mentor, she was afraid she didn't have the time or necessary motivation, but once she signed up, she was glad she made the decision.

"Even with school and work filling up my weeks, I am constantly thinking of when to see her," Kendra says. "I can picture Mia and I being together for a while, and I'm excited to see how we both change in the future."

Big Brothers Big Sisters, part of Child & Family Services, provides friendships and role models to boys and girls living in the Greater New Bedford area. Having a Big Brother or Sister can make a real difference in children’s lives by helping them to better handle life’s ups and downs. For more information: www.child-familyservices.org