Pairs formed through Nutmeg Big Brothers Big Sisters keep connections strong amid pandemic

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HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Koga Akinsola is a busy South Windsor dad. He’s taken on another title amid the pandemic — “Big Brother.”

Akinsola was paired up with 11-year-old Jayden through Nutmeg Big Brothers Big Sisters (NBBBS). They connect routinely, several days a week.

“With the second wave, we had to stick to virtual and phones, so what I did was introduce him to the game of chess,” Akinsola explained.

But requests from kids in need and adult volunteers have slowed during months of isolation. Now, the Hartford-based nonprofit has a special message during Black History Month. They want to hear from families and adults with a desire to give back.

The CEO of NBBBS, Andy Fleischmann, said, “You personally have the power to make history by raising your hand and spending some time each month with a child who needs you.”

There’s a particular appeal for diverse applicants, and greater Hartford is rich in diversity.

“We can always use more people of color and especially more men of color,” Fleischmann said.

“Everyone; African Americans, Africans, Caribbeans, I’m originally from Nigeria,” Akinsola added.

As everyone grows weary of Covid-19’s impact on our lives, Fleischmann said being a “big” is one way to add connection.

“As hard as it may be for you and me it’s harder for kids who have already been through a lot of tough things in their lives,” he said.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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