Program highlight: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampshire County

This guest post is courtesy of Emily Cutts, YouthServe Americorps member at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampshire Co. Emily answered some questions from Mass Mentoring regarding her program and its National Mentoring Month events.

  1. What is your role at the organization? Please give us some information about your program.
  2. I am the AmeriCorps member at CHD Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampshire County. I am responsible for outreach and recruitment for our program, as well as working with our Kids to Campus Programs at Amherst College and the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Additionally, I help organize and facilitate events for our Bigs and Littles. Our program works with youth who range from 7 to 14-years-old, and matches them with adult mentors in the community.

  3. Why is mentoring important?
  4. Within these relationships, youth are given the ability to develop positively and confidently with the benefit of a friend to lean on. These relationships help them thrive as they become adolescents, and give them opportunities to challenge themselves and become productive members of their community.

  5. What did your program do to celebrate National Mentoring Month?
  6. Our program hosted an Annual Volunteer Recognition event on Jan. 31. We asked our volunteers, donors, case managers, and board to come together to help us celebrate the wonderful job our volunteers have done. We asked the District Attorney, David Sullivan; Dr. Marta Guevara, director of achievement and equity for Amherst public schools, and our Board President, Michael Gove, to speak at this event. A local a capella group also performed for the volunteers.

  7. What was the outcome of the event?
  8. Our event had about 50 people in attendance, including volunteers, board members, staff, our speakers, and donors.

  9. What was the overall response to the event?
  10. We feel our event had a positive and excited response. The volunteers who were able to attend ranged from our Community Bigs to our College Bigs, to Bigs who have been matched 4-5 years, to Bigs who have only recently been matched. It was a blend of all the wonderful mentors who make up our program, and this event allowed them to see the diverse community they are a part of.

  11. Did you do anything else for National Mentoring Month?
  12. This was our sole event to celebrate mentors in January, besides the positive feedback we give on an individual basis.

  13. How people can get in touch with your program for additional information?
  14. To get more information, please contact me, Emily Cutts (YouthServe Americorps) at (413) 259-3351 or at our email, bbbsvolcorps@chd.org.