MANCHESTER, Conn. (WTNH) — Dan Fortes of Manchester had been thinking about becoming a Big Brother for quite some time. He would always hear about Big Brothers Big Sisters. So, when did he know the time was right?
“I really thought more about it when my son grew up and moved out. He and I used to do a lot of activities together such as baseball, over my shoulder so… he moved out and I found myself with a void in my life. I thought Big Brothers Big Sisters was a great way to fill that.”
Fortes has taken his little brother Donde fishing and to a battling cage because as he pointed out, the 12-year-old had never played baseball before.
“We played football, we play basketball,” Fortes said. “I took him to the Air Museum. Sometimes we just hang out.”
January is National Mentoring Month. While it has been observed each January since 2002, Nutmeg Big Brothers Big Sisters has been a staple since way back in 1966.
“They come into it wanting to make a difference in the child’s life,” said Tara Gill, director of community programs for Nutmeg Big Brothers Big Sisters. “They want to help the child meet their potential. Of course the children benefit. They report that they’re happier, they’re more likely to do well in school.”
It is a win-win situation. Gill said adults are always amazed by how much the relationship means to them and what they get out of it.
Currently, she said there are more than 350 active “Bigs.” However, there are also more than 200 children on a waiting list.
To learn how you can become a mentor, click here.