You can’t put a value on how important a positive mentor can be in a child’s life. That is exactly what the Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York City has been providing for children at risk for over a century.
By pairing children (“Littles”) with older mentors (“Bigs”), BBBS has been able to make positive impacts time and time again for children who may not have had the right guidance in those difficult high school years. The results cannot be stressed enough as the organization has found that 97% of high school seniors with mentoring Bigs graduate from high school and 96% of Littles who graduate from high school are accepted into college.
The BBBS of NYC pairs around 5,000 Littles with new Bigs every year. This program is successful not only because it pairs children with people that can get them on the right track academically, but also because it provides them with mentors that can lead by example in order to inspire them to succeed in the future. One of these success stories comes from a Brooklyn high schooler named Donte and his Big, Chad DeLuca.
Donte had been off to a bad start at the beginning of his high school career until his mother decided to sign him up for the program. Donte quickly gained a helpful mentor and began a long and beautiful friendship with DeLuca.
For Donte, meeting DeLuca was scary at first, but as they got to know each other better he noticed his life changing for the better. Bonding over their shared interest in Sports, DeLuca is guiding Donte into a career path of Sports Management and has assisted him with taking the SATs three times to get a score that would help him get into the right schools.
Aside from helping with Donte’s academic career, DeLuca also takes Donte to play laser tag and to go bowling for fun. The two also have a heated rivalry when it comes to playing each other in one-on-one basketball where even though DeLuca is considered Donte’s “Big”, at 6’4” Donte tends to show him who’s boss on the court.
This is why relationships like Donte and DeLuca’s are what have made the BBBS such a force for good as both Donte and DeLuca have been able to provide each other with a lifelong friend.
Each pairing of a Big and Little costs the BBBS $3,500 to arrange. Since January has been dubbed “National Mentoring Month”, the time couldn’t be better to get involved and make a difference in someone’s life or donate to this wonderful cause.