(WTNH) – Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Connecticut does fantastic work, but you may not know that parent involvement is critical in helping the program make a difference.
Meet Lawrence and Leo, along with twins Lennox and Nigel. The Saunders brothers range in age from 7 to 10 years old, and their busy mom, Nija, realized she could really use a hand.
“It’s tough to take them out all the time, so paying attention to one kid at a time and giving them that attention,” Nija said.
For this help, she turned to Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Connecticut. The boys were matched with their “bigs” and incredible friendships were born.
“What I love about my big sister is that she always takes me places and gets stuff for me,” Nigel said.
“Sometimes they help me in math. When I get in the car, he asks what I’m learning in school,” Leo said.
You might not know that the parents play a big role in the success of the program. Nija is known for her stellar communication skills and flexibility. For that, she’s soon being awarded the Parent Partner of the Year.
“She keeps an open mind and lets the bigs know what’s going on with her children. Any changes going on,” said Jackie.
“Everything is a partnership,” said Andy Fleishmann.
President and CEO Andy Fleishmann says the organization is always looking for more participants.
“We just recently became Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Connecticut, and there are many cities where there’s a need and not as many mentors ad we’d like,” Fleishmann said.
During the start of the pandemic, the relationships helped ease feelings of isolation.
The Saunders brothers meet their big buddies about twice a month and hope to inspire others to take this worthwhile leap.
“Sign up. If you’re a parent, a mentor, whatever, it’s probably the best thing I’ve done for my kids,” Nija said.
Nija will be honored on May 19 at the Mark Twain House.
To find out how you can become a big brother or big sister, click here.