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Mentoring club seeks new recruits

Amanda Gray | Friday, October 10, 2008

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s is looking for new recruits to be mentors to local area children, club president and Notre Dame senior Charlie Cummings said.

As one of the oldest clubs on campus, “it’s been active since the 1970s,” said Cummings.

Big Brothers Big Sisters was started in Cincinnati by a man named Irvin Westheimer, according to the organization’s Web site.

“BBBS is active all over the country,” Cummings said.

Some concern has been developing over the amount of students and faculty from Notre Dame that participate in the program.

“[Big Brothers Big Sisters] of Notre Dame’s enrollment is much lower than it has been historically,” Cummings said. “There is a waiting list of over 40 Littles in South Bend that need to be matched up.”

Cummings’ Little, Jay Robinson, is a ten year old South Bend native. His mother, Tanya Robinson, thinks very highly of the Big Brothers Big Sisters program.

“I feel that it gives him something positive to look forward to,” Tanya Robinson said on Wednesday. “It helps keep kids off of the streets.”

Jay Robinson’s favorite activity with Cummings is “video games,” according to his mother.

Mentors meet with the children “once a week for a couple of hours, whenever the Big and Little can arrange to get together,” said Cummings. “It is each individual Big’s responsibility to pick up their Little each week and stay in touch with them.”

Activities range from playing games, to going to sporting events and out to eat.

Jay Robinson has been a part of the program for four years, according to his mother.

In Big Brothers Big Sisters, males are matched with males and females are matched with females. Currently, there is a need for more male Bigs because there are more male Littles on the list than females.

Cummings said to call Debra Walker at 574-232-9958 for information about joining BBBS, or go to www.bbbs-sjc.org

“Fill out an application, participate in a short interview, and you’re in,” he said.

According to Cummings, a short personality assessment is given during the interview to match a potential Big up with the best possible match of a Little.

“My Little is a great match for me, he’s relatively introverted, but extremely well-mannered and funny,” said Cummings. “He has a great outlook on life and has a heart of gold.”