Guest blog post by Tara Gill, Nutmeg Big Brothers Big Sisters. Photo also courtesy of Nutmeg Big Brothers Big Sisters.
For four years, Nutmeg Big Brothers Big Sisters has been matching Trinity College student volunteers with elementary students at the CREC Montessori Magnet School on Broad Street in Hartford. The Bigs – Trinity students – are matched in a one-to-one supportive, mentoring relationship with a Little – elementary student. Bigs and Littles participate in activities for 60 minutes each week during the school year, supported and supervised by a professional staff member. Activities include arts & crafts, recreational activities, group projects and games.
Sometimes the best place to help a child realize their potential is at school. Kids enjoy meeting with their Bigs there, whether it’s in the classroom or on the playground. And parents know what a positive impact it makes. Although it takes place at schools, our Site-Based Mentoring program isn’t limited to the classroom. Of course, some Littles do talk with their Bigs about class, do homework, or read together, but they also shoot hoops in the gym or play on the playground. At the end of the day, it’s really all about starting a friendship, providing guidance and inspiring them to reach their potential.
- We meet Tuesdays for an hour after school for the college academic year
- CREC Montessori Magnet School, 1460 Broad Street
- All activities take place on the elementary school campus
- The program started in 2015
- We have between 15-20 matches each year
- Volunteers return to the program each semester, if their schedule permits
- Visiting the Trinity campus and allowing the Littles to tour the athletic center, visit a classroom, check out the library, see the cafeteria and hang out on the quad
- Making slime, creating cards for soldiers and having ice cream sundaes
- Littles get to become friends with college students and learn what it takes to go to college and to succeed
- Littles gain a friend to talk to about whatever is going on in their lives
- Bigs get to take a break from the rigors of college and spend time with kids having fun
- Bigs make connections to the Hartford community
- Bigs learn about the importance of service to others
My proudest moments are really the connection that the Big’s and Little’s create over the year.
- One Little was very vocal about his desire to have a male mentor but he was matched with a female and by the end of the year he actually cried when he said goodbye to his Big.
- Another Little was very shy and wouldn’t talk to her Big for the first month or so, by the end of the year she talked non-stop and was significantly more open and confident
- Seeing the Littles run to their Bigs and give them big hugs every time we show up for program
- Our first year we had 8 matches and this year we had 17 matches