Program highlight: Big Friends Little Friends of Family Service Association

January is National Mentoring Month, and we are highlighting a number of perspectives on mentoring, events, and ways you can get involved in the field. Today’s post, a match highlight, is submitted from Big Friends Little Friends of Family Service Association.

  • What is your name and what is your role at the organization? Please give us some information about your program.
    Amanda Miranda – case manager
    Ramona Turcotte – program coordinator
    Big Friends Little Friends (BFLF) of Family Service Association is a community-based, one-on-one mentoring program serving the Greater Fall River area (Fall River, Somerset, Swansea, Rehoboth, Tiverton & Westport). We serve children ages 7-14 who come from a wide array of diverse backgrounds. Mentors and mentees are matched according to compatibility and similar interests.

  • How does mentoring impact the communities you serve?
    As Fall River and its surrounding communities are becoming more diverse and demonstrate a higher need for positive interactions and influences on youth, mentoring has a large impact on the communities in which we serve. Mentoring serves several functions and has been proven to increase social functioning, academic performance, and prevention of problematic behaviors.
  • How has mentoring impacted the youth you serve? Mentoring has impacted the youth we serve in many capacities. Mentees and mentors alike have reported a higher level of academic progress, increased self-esteem/self-image/self-efficiency, increased social functioning, and prevention of risky behaviors such as bullying and gang involvement.
  • What is your program doing to celebrate National Mentoring Month?
    Big Friends Little Friends, in collaboration with SMILES and Big Brothers Big Sisters of New Bedford, will be hosting a 2013 Southcoast Mentoring Rally in the Great Room of People, Inc. on Thursday, Jan. 17, 4:30 - 6:30 p.m. This date coincides with "Thank Your Mentor Day." This event will raise awareness of mentoring, recognize mentoring programs available within the surrounding communities and recruit new mentors. Agency representatives, municipal officials, local business representatives and current mentors and their mentees will be in attendance.
  • What advice would you give to adults looking to become mentors?
    Mentoring a child is a great way to give back to the community. There are very few positive role models for children this day in age. With children serving as our future, it is essential to provide them with positive relationships and influences, and mentoring does just that! Not only will a child benefit from the companionship, guidance, and support a mentoring friendship can provide, it also benefits the adults. It is just as rewarding, if not more so, to make a difference in the life of a child.

Family Service Association has established the Big Friends Little Friends program because children need the friendship of a concerned adult to help them reach their full potential. For more information, visit www.frfsa.org.