(Front L-R) Guidance Counselor Jessie Delgado, Guidance Counselor Kim Picarri, BBBS Director of ASB Mentoring Danielle Clementson, BBBS Director of HSM Mentoring Dominique O’Brien, Assistant Principle Brittney Tomlin, and Social Worker Jen Pepe. (Back L-R) BBBS Director of Programs Tygh Powell and Principle Dan Greco
We at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cumberland & Salem Counties (BBBS) are expanding our successful Adult School Based (ASB) and High School Mentoring (HSM) programs with new locations being added in Vineland and Bridgeton public schools. As part of the 2018-2019 school year, we are pleased to announce that both ASB and HSM mentoring are now available at Marie D. Durand School in Vineland, ASB mentoring is now available at Broad Street Elementary in Bridgeton and HSM mentoring is now available at Sabater Elementary School in Vineland.
In addition to these new locations, BBBS currently offers ASB Mentoring at D’Ippolito Elementary School and Veterans Memorial Intermediate School in Vineland; Holly Heights Elementary, Silver Run Elementary, and Lakeside Middle School in Millville; Indian Avenue Elementary in Bridgeton; and Salem Middle School in Salem City. HSM Mentoring is currently offered at Cherry Street Elementary and West Avenue Elementary in Bridgeton; and Shoemaker School in Woodstown.
“We are happy to offer the mentorship programs at Durand and excited to witness firsthand the benefits for our students” said Durand School Vice Principal Brittney Tomlin. “Our teachers work very hard to help students be the best academically that they can be. The Big Brothers Big Sisters program builds on these efforts in order to make the whole child really strong. We welcome those individuals with the desire and ability to volunteer their time to help our students grow and succeed.”
“Children who participate in the program are dramatically impacted in a positive way,” said BBBS Cumberland/Salem Director of ASB Mentoring Danielle Clementson. “We see them build self-esteem and social acceptance from this experience, often developing lifelong friendships with someone they consider to be a role model.”
All mentors and school-referred children must complete an application and interview/training session to determine suitability. A variety of factors including common interests, personalities, age, location, and life experience are utilized to help match mentors with students. Adult mentors are typically asked to commit two to four hours a month and meet during the child’s school day. High School Students are normally asked to dedicate an hour each week for the duration of one school year. The matches receive ongoing support by phone and in-person contacts made by the BBBS professional staff.
In 2017, there were 274 Littles matched to a Big Brother or Big Sister in the Cumberland and Salem program. But even with this success, there were still over 70 Littles on a waiting list, so more volunteer mentors are needed.
“Becoming a Big Brother or Big Sister is a wonderful way to experience the satisfaction of being in a mentoring relationship, and really making a difference in a Little’s life,” said BBBS Director of Programs Tygh Powell. “It offers the opportunity for adults and high school students interested in volunteering to give back, and to meet others who give their time to help children in our community. If you have the time and desire, we would love to hear from you.”
“Being a part of Big Brothers Big Sisters was one of the best decisions I made during my high school career,” said Jessica Morris. “Going to see my Little every Wednesday was the highlight of my school week. Watching her problem solve with her peers was awesome. Additionally, when we talked after class I remember loving how she would tell me about her school day, what she did over the weekend, and so much more. I do miss her, and I cannot stress enough that being a part of BBBS was the best thing I could have done for myself, and hopefully for my Little too.
For more information on the Adult School-Based Mentoring programs contact Danielle Clementson at 856.692.0916 x104 and for information on the High School Mentoring programs contact Dominique O’Brien at 856.692.0916 x106